North-east firm Ecosse Subsea Services snaps up business south of the border

Energy news
Energy news

Ecosse Subsea Systems (ESS), based in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, has swooped to buy English firm MASfab in a deal which is expected to boost total annual turnover by more than £3million within three years.

ESS specialises in offshore engineering consultancy and subsea technology for the subsea energy and offshore renewables markets.

It said yesterday its decision to acquire County Durham business MASfab for an undisclosed sum was largely based on a reputation for “first class workmanship” on large oil and gas contracts.

MASfab employs 22 people at Bowburn, near Durham city. It was founded last August by its managing director, Paul Mitchinson, and director Sharon West.

The firm provides a range of fabrication, welding and construction services to the oil, gas and renewables sectors.

It is forecast that over the next three years its workforce will grow to around 30 people, helping to generate annual revenue exceeding £3million.

ESS commercial director Keith McDermott said: “MASfab is an excellent addition to Ecosse’s capabilities.

“There are great opportunities ahead for MASfab and we are looking forward to working with their team and enjoying the mutual benefits that knowledge sharing and close co-operation will bring.”

As part of the deal MASfab has been awarded a seven-figure contract – its biggest to date – to manufacture the latest version of ESS’s SCAR subsea plough, which is used in seabed excavation, trenching and boulder clearances.

Mr McDermott said: “MASfab will be delivering a subsea plough which will set new industry standards and bring instant benefits to our clients.”

MASfab’s bosses said the takeover by ESS would allow it to benefit from “massive exposure to their extensive client base, which will accelerate growth and create jobs”.

Mr Mitchinson, added: “Ecosse is a very successful subsea technology firm which has just won a multi-million pound renewables contract in the north-east of Scotland.

“They have a long track record of success on traditional oil and gas projects but are increasingly the go-to people for seabed ploughing and backfill, clearance and cable-laying in the fast-growth renewables industry.

“This is a win-win for MASfab and already we are benefiting from the award to build Ecosse’s new SCAR Max plough, which is the latest version of their successful SCAR technology.”

ESS, which trebled operating profits to £3.4million during the year to March 2014, on turnover up by 88% at £15.6million, recently announced it had signed a letter of intent with international automation and power group ABB to provide seabed clearance, trenching and other expertise for the 100-mile, £1.2billion Caithness-Moray electricity transmission link.