Aberdeen firms X-Subsea UK and X-Subsea Atlantic are in administration, with 20 jobs axed, after a downturn in orders.
They are subsidiaries of Granite City-based X-Subsea UK Holding (X-Subsea UKH), which is also in administration.
Their parent, Norway’s Reef Subsea, went into liquidation in February after backers pulled support in the wake of falling oil prices.
But X-Subsea operations in Houston in the US, Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico and Singapore are not in administration.
X-Subsea’s’ website, which also lists a sales presence in China and Dubai among international operations, says it is the world leader for specialised dredging and controlled flow excavation services for the oil and gas, renewable-energy and civil engineering industries. “We’re active on every continent and in every ocean,” it adds.
Six employees based overseas have been retained to complete an ongoing contract – the only one the UK businesses have – but the remaining 20 Aberdeen-based staff have been made redundant, with immediate effect.
Accounts lodged at Companies House for X-Subsea UK – formerly Reef Subsea Dredging and Excavation – show pre-tax losses of £977,000 in 2013, compared with profits of £2.8million a year earlier.
Turnover plummeted to £1.82million in the most recent period, from £18.72million previously.
X-Subsea Atlantic – formerly Rotech Subsea Atlantic – was dormant and did not trade.
The 2013 accounts for X-Subsea UKH – formerly Reef Subsea UK – show pre-tax profits of £198,000, down from £295,000 the year before on turnover up by 10% at just over £13million.
Figures for 2014 were not due to be lodged at Companies House until September.
X-Subsea designs and builds patented tools which can operate in water depths of up to 8,200 feet, while their excavation technology prevents damage to pipelines, cables, sub-sea structures and the environment.
Insolvency specialists at FRP Advisory are seeking a buyer for the business and assets under administration, which FRP said was caused by unsustainable losses and cash flow problems stemming from a downturn in orders and the withdrawal of support from their parent.
Iain Fraser, a partner at FRP in Scotland, added: “The business has been badly affected by the current downturn in the oil and gas sector, and despite restructuring of the group earlier this year income and cash flow has fallen substantially.
“X-Subsea has a blue-chip client base and interests in valuable intellectual property assets. We will now market the businesses and assets for sale and would urge interested parties to contact us as soon as possible.”