An administrator for Aberdeen’s Sovereign Oilfield Group has already begun to have meetings with possible buyers of its main fabrication businesses.
Bruce Cartwright told the Press and Journal yesterday: “We are in the very early stages of this administration. I was only appointed yesterday, but I have already met interested people this morning and calls are continuing to come in from would-be buyers.”
Mr Cartwright, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said a quick sale was the best way to save the 400 jobs at Sovereign.
The administration only involves the holding group, not the subsidiaries which continue to trade as normal.
There are four key businesses in the fabrication division: three in the Aberdeen area and the fourth based at Dunfermline.
Sovereign has been in the news frequently because of its problems.
Just last month, its shares plunged by 50% on the day it told investors it was uncertain its future trading performance would be able to support its debts. Sovereign also said the board was reviewing its strategic options, which included a debt-for-equity swap, a capital injection, and disposals of some or all of its operating subsidiaries.
Mr Cartwright and colleague Graham Frost were appointed joint administrators at the request of the board on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, Sovereign received enforcement orders from creditors.
It has sold subsidiaries and properties in the past couple of years to raise money to reduce its debt and in line with its strategy of refocusing as a fabrication business.
The group revealed in December that it made pre-tax losses of £3.3million in the six months to September 30. This compared with a pre-tax deficit of £1.8million a year earlier.
Two top bosses also departed Sovereign in December.
The firm announced the resignations of chairman and chief executive Graham Burgess and finance director Julie Cowie.
Sovereign was formed in October 2003 by Mr Burgess and Peter Felter. Mr Burgess has spent most of his career in the oil and gas industry.