The new boss of energy logistics firm Asco ended his first week in charge by announcing a return to the black and 52% increase in sales for the business.
Mike Pettigrew has taken over as chief executive from Peter France, who left to join Surrey-based TT Electronics as CEO.
Mr Pettigrew told The Press and Journal Asco’s 2022 results reflected a strong recovery from market turmoil caused by the Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine.
The “upwards trajectory” has continued in 2023, he said.
Asco under new ownership
And while he would not be drawn on the likely profits and sales figures for the current trading year, he said he was “very positive about the position of the company right now.
Asco, which unveiled new private-equity owners in August, notched up nearly £4. 6 million in pre-tax profits from continuing operations in the year to December 31 2022.
This was compared with losses of more than £2.6m in 2021.
Revenue soared to about £638m last year, from around £419m previously.
Aberdeen-headquartered Asco said it won new clients, grew its range of services and sectoral support, and expanded into new geographies.
Activity was particularly strong in the UK, where the business continues to see higher demand across its service lines of quayside logistics, materials management, environmental and bunkering services.
Some of the group’s international businesses, including in Norway, Canada, and Trinidad, suffered “dips” in activity levels.
But Fraser Stewart, managing director of the firm’s overseas operations, highlighted progress for a new buisness in Suriname and a strong business performance in Senegal.
And the company said its figures were a “strong foundation” for ongoing growth as it moves forward under its new owner.
Private equity firm Endless acquired Asco from a consortium of bosses and lenders for an undisclosed sum.
Asco said the deal “further strengthens” its position in green energy markets, allowing the firm to capitalise on ” increasing opportunities presented by the energy transition”.
Energy transition is driving increased investment in Asco’s markets, Mr Pettigrew added.
This supports the firm”s long-term objective of transitioning from a service company for the oil and gas industry into one supporting all aspects of the energy supply chain, he said.
He continued: “The need for energy security, along with existing planned investment is a positive indicator of future growth. Asco’s full range of integrated logistics and materials management services will be critical in delivering the energy transition.”
Asco an ‘unsung hero’ of energy transition
Asco’s new CEO retained his duties as the group’s UK managing director when he stepped up to the top job.
Commenting on the 2022 business performance, he said: “We are pleased to have secured a number of important new contracts and that, despite challenges, we continue to successfully expand at an international level.”
He described the firm’s role in energy transition as “unsung hero”.
The firm will have to adapt to changing requirements and important new locations, he said.
The new Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport is shaping up to be a major hub for the offshore renewables industry,
Asked if Asco has any plans to establish a base there, Mr Pettigrew was non-committal.
“It is an area that’s going to be a hotspot for offshore wind,” he said.
Asco employs around 1,500 people across more than 60 locations worldwide.
UK bases include facilities in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Great Yarmouth. Overseas operations span Australia, Canada, Norway, Senegal, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
The acquisition by Endless meant a boardroom exit for north-east entrepreneur Bob Keiller, who has stepped down from the chairman’s role and has not yet been replaced.