Aberdeen subsea equipment provider Ashtead Technology has signed an exclusive rental agreement with Australian firm Reach Robotics.
Sydney-based Reach Robotics manufactures all-electric robotic arm solutions for inspection class remote operated vehicles (ROVs).
Under the terms of the agreement, Ashtead Technology (AIM: AT.) will be the exclusive rental partner for all Reach Robotics manipulators.
The robotic manipulators enable inspection, maintenance and repair tasks usually reserved for more expensive work-class ROVs.
Ashtead Technology said the Reach Robotics ROV manipulators are compact, lightweight and “offer best-in-class performance designed for operating in harsh environments”.
Ashtead Technology regional director for Europe Brett Lestrange said the agreement strengthens the company’s existing inventory of manipulator equipment.
“(This agreement is) allowing us to offer a more comprehensive range of solutions to support our customers’ ROV tooling applications,” he said.
“It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the global offshore energy market by offering the latest and most advanced technologies to support our customers’ projects worldwide.”
Reach Robotics commercial director Anders Ridley-Smith said the rental agreement is an important strategic opportunity for the company, founded in 2016.
“For us, finding the right rental partner was all about reach, reputation and, to be frank, enthusiasm,” he said.
“We’re confident in the value our electric manipulators can bring to a service provider’s operations, and also in Ashtead Technology’s ability to help maximise their availability.
“With Ashtead Technology’s global reach, this rental agreement is an important strategic opportunity for Reach Robotics and will significantly support the steep growth of our business.”
Global subsea robotics growth
According to research by Mordor Intelligence, the global ROV market is estimated to reach a value of approximately £1.8 billion by the end of 2023.
Over the next five years, the industry is projected to reach a value of approximately £2.6 billion, driven by offshore oil, gas, and energy operations.
Meanwhile, Ashtead Technology said earlier this year its profits increased by 34% in 2022 on higher activity levels and recent acquisitions.
Revenues increased 31% year on year, from £55.8m to £73.1m, with the offshore renewables and oil and gas markets up 22% and 35% respectively.
Headcount increased from 204 in 2021 to 260 at year-end, after the acquisition of WeSubsea and Hiretech.
On a pre-tax basis, profits for the firm totalled £16.3m, more than four-times that of 2021’s £3.5m.
The firm, which listed on the AIM market in London in 2021, said its rental fleet has increased from 17,000 to 19,000 items, while net debt is up slightly from £22.7m to £28.7m.