Hunting said yesterday its Hunting Energy Services division was planning acquisitions of complementary businesses as demand for products and technical expertise continued to outpace industry supply.
Dennis Proctor, the chief executive of the international energy service group, said that he was looking at two targets in particular, one with operations in the UK – including in Aberdeen and the Middle East – to add to its capabilities in the North Sea, and one with operations in America.
Hunting Energy Services already has about 280 employees at a tubulars business at Portlethen, at the Hunting Cromar wireline and pressure-control business in Aberdeen, and at a tubulars operation at Montrose.
The group will make the acquisitions with the £626million proceeds from the sale of Canadian subsidiary Gibson Energy to private-equity buyers Riverstone and Carlyle.
Gibson owns and operates oil distribution terminals, pipelines and storage depots in North America.
The cash will also be used to reduce debt, which now stands at just under £200million.
Mr Proctor, speaking after Hunting unveiled results for the six months to June 30, said: “The unprecedented activity in the oil and gas industry continues to drive demand for our products and services, which is reflected in our excellent results today. The energy services division is well placed to continue its growth from well construction and completion as hydrocarbon exploration requires more complex and innovative solutions to secure resources and reserves.”
Hunting reported pre-tax profits from continuing operations of £21.3million compared with £16.8million a year earlier.
Revenue for the half-year from continuing operations was £201.2million against £214.5million the year before.
Hunting said the decline was partly because of contract delivery timing in North Sea operations.
Gibson Energy has been classed as a discontinued operation although completion of the sale is not expected until October.