Swedish banking giant steps in to help Scottish subsea firm diversify into renewable energy sector

Mike Wilson (Managing Director, Ecosse Subsea, centre) flanked by Mo Petrie, ESS operations manager, and Steven Rae, Handelsbanken manager in Aberdeen.
Smiling all the way to the bank: Mike Wilson (Managing Director, Ecosse Subsea, centre) flanked by Mo Petrie, ESS operations manager, and Steven Rae, Handelsbanken manager, Aberdeen

Grampian-based Ecosse Subsea Services has agreed a multi-million-pound revolving credit facility with the local branch of a Swedish global banking giant to support the company as it bids for larger renewables and power generation contracts outwith its traditional oil and gas markets.

ESS said it was responding to fresh opportunities to deploy its innovative technologies in emerging markets in the Baltic Sea, the Far East and USA, and forecast turnover in the current financial year will double to between £23-£25 million, with profits jumping to around £5 million.

With its roots in the oil and gas industry, Ecosse Subsea – based in Banchory – has led the way in adapting traditional technologies for use in the renewables and interconnector sectors and has designed and patented a range of tools which are used in seabed clearance, route preparation, trenching, backfill, pipelay removal and cable laying operations.

The company said it was also encouraged by signs of recovery in the oil and gas sector and predicted that technologies developed by ESS for renewables projects would prove equally attractive for deployment on major oil and gas projects.

Its SCAR seabed plough has been deployed on a number of British and European renewables projects, including Westermost Rough, Race Bank and Wikinger offshore wind farms and on cable trenching operations on an interconnector programme in the Moray Firth.

Mike Wilson, ESS Managing Director, said: “Until now Ecosse has been self-financing but our track-record for completing high-value and complex subsea contracts, means we need a more rounded banking service.

“As we win larger contracts, our clients require us to have a more sophisticated banking facility and we are delighted to partner with Handelsbanken who have been supportive and flexible in their offering.”

“To sustain growth, we require a banking relationship which provided performance bonds and guarantees to its clients and Handelsbanken’s Aberdeen branch stepped in to offer full banking services, including a multi-million-pound revolving credit and bonds and guarantee facility.”

Unlike many ‘Scottish’ banks, each Handelsbanken branch operates as a small business – enabling it to make decisions at a local level and provide a service that is bespoke.

Steve Rae, corporate manager at Handelsbanken, Aberdeen, said: “We were very impressed with the Ecosse team and their business model and how they have successfully diversified from focussing mainly on oil and gas to strengthen their position in the renewable energy sector.

“Both are key sectors for the Scottish and wider UK economy and we are delighted to provide the business with the banking facilities it required to support its growth plans.”

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