Job cuts in pipeline at PSL – claim

North-east firm PSL Energy Services is believed to be planning to axe at least 50 posts, it emerged yesterday.

A PSL source said the jobs were going at Portlethen and Great Yarmouth because of a downturn in activity.

The company was snapped up by US energy service giant Halliburton in a £128million deal in April 2007, but the source said that, since the acquisition, PSL had lost business from some long-standing customers.

PSL is also understood to be closing one of its two Portlethen bases and scaling back its presence in Great Yarmouth.

The source said that, since the acquisition by Halliburton, more than 300 employees out of 1,100 worldwide had left PSL.

Figures released by Companies House earlier this month showed PSL had pre-tax losses of £21.7million in 2007, against pre-tax profits of £5.83million for 2006.

A directors’ report with the accounts said its losses in 2007 were the result of lower turnover, increases in depreciation, significant investment in equipment and higher provisions related to a contract dispute.

PSL said it was making the appropriate investment and taking action to reverse its fortunes, adding: “Demand for the company’s products and services remains high, supported by continuing global demand for oil and gas.”

Halliburton’s acquisition of PSL came just four years after the north-east firm, formerly PSL Holdings, was bought out of receivership through a £14million management buyout.

A handful of the Portlethen company’s bosses – managing director Doug Duguid, finance director Michael Buchan, commercial director Derek Grant, operations director Phil Bentley and business-development director John Wingfield – shared 20% of Halliburton’s investment in acquiring the business.

The other 80% of PSL was owned by private-equity firm Lime Rock Partners.

No comment was available from Halliburton yesterday regarding the situation at PSL.