New Scottish company Envoy & Partners has made its second acquisition in a month after its demerger from Global Energy Group (GEG).
Envoy said last night it had – through its Muir of Ord-based Ross-shire Engineering (RSE) mechanical and engineering subsidiary – taken a majority stake in Leeds-headquartered Saftronics.
The value of the deal was undisclosed, but Envoy managing partner Iain MacGregor said the Yorkshire firm was turning over about £10m a year.
Inverness-based Envoy aims to “replicate” the success of Saftronics in Scotland, opening a new base north of the border within two years – creating 50 to 60 jobs – to service Scottish customers.
Mr MacGregor, who together with his younger brother, John, has put a raft of businesses that were previously part of GEG under the Envoy umbrella, said Saftonics was “something that would probably be welcomed in Aberdeen”.
The Granite City would be a “natural” location for a new facility, although there would also be demand in central Scotland, he added.
Founded in 1979, Saftronics specialises in the design and manufacture of process control systems and low voltage switchboards for a wide variety of applications in the oil & gas, chemical, power and utility markets.
Three of the four bosses that owned it are staying on at the business, Mr MacGregor said.
The acquisition adds 110 engineering and technical jobs to RSE’s existing 650-strong workforce.
Mr MacGregor added: “Our RSE business has developed as one of the country’s leading (mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, control and automation) contractors in recent years.
“To meet growing demand for our service, we were attracted to Saftronics for its reputation, its technical skills and its 2,400sq m (25,83sq ft) manufacturing and testing facility in Leeds.
“It is our ambition to replicate this capability in Scotland to more locally service the needs of customers who enjoy the benefits of our innovative approach.”
RSE managing director Allan Dallas said the Envoy subsidiary aimed to generate sustainable employment for the north through its “multi market hedging approach”.
Mr Dallas added: “Through the downturn we were able to attract skills from the oil and gas sector and then retain them.
“We find that employees are attracted to a more predictable and longer-term employment status, which also provides job and industry variety.”
The Saftronics deal is unlikely to be the last for Envoy this year, Mr MacGregor said, adding the group had other targets “bubbling away”.
Envoy was formed through the recent demerger of Global Energy Group (GEG), controlled by Highland businessman Roy MacGregor.
Inverness-based GEG split in two, with about 40% of the Inverness-based business becoming subsidiaries of Envoy – owned by two of Mr MacGregor’s sons, Iain and his younger brother, John, and a Japanese investor.
Iain MacGregor became managing partner of Envoy, which also has its headquarters in Inverness and employed about 1,500 people before its latest acquisition.
It follows hot on the heels of Envoy taking a majority stake in Australian firm STR Integrity.
Iain MacGregor owns 50% of the group, with John, 32, and Japanese conglomerate Mitsui each having a 25% stake.
Both brothers have retained interests in GEG following a consolidation of shares in that company.
As well as STR Integrity, Envoy comprises two Muir of Ord businesses – Ross-shire Engineering and Prime Pumps – and Aberdeen firms Global Resources, Rigfit7Seas and Maris Subsea.
It also includes Manchester-based Langfields, CPE Pressure Vessels, of Tamworth, and Australian companies GQS, Vertech Group, Cunningham Resource Solutions and Geo Oceans.