James Fisher Group acquires SeaEnergy trading assets

Ray Riddoch, Managing Director, Nexen UK (centre) with Keith Brown (left) and Paul Wheelhouse
Ray Riddoch, Managing Director, Nexen UK (centre) with Scottish Trade and Industry Minister Keith Brown (left) and Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

The James Fisher Group – the Cumbria-based offshore oil services specialist – has acquired the trading assets of the SeaEnergy Group, which went into Administration earlier this year.

SeaEnergy’s  two principal trading entities were Return to Scene Limited (“R2S”) and SE Innovation Limited (“SEIL”) which provide visual asset management software services and packages to a variety of sectors.

SeaEnergy began to experience cash flow challenges in late 2015, due to the ongoing oil price decline adversely impacting R2S activity levels. As seen throughout the industry, client orders were cancelled or postponed, and the number of new business enquiries reduced significantly.

SeaEnergy directors secured additional funding in November 2015 via a £1 million working capital loan but in early 2016, trading conditions began to deteriorate even further.

In March this year, SeaEnergy announced that it was facing significant cash flow difficulties and would need to consider a sale of its main assets. In April trading in the shares of SeaEnergy was suspended, pending clarification of its financial position.

KPMG was appointed to run an accelerated sales process on 28 April 2016. A preferred bidder was selected by the Group on 13 May 2016.

Prior to the appointment of the Joint Administrators, the business, assets and 10 employees of SEIL (including the Return to Scene forensic, and Max & Co businesses) were sold to R2S by the SEIL directors, and seven employees of SeaEnergy were transferred to R2S. Immediately following the appointment, the shares of R2S were acquired by James Fisher Holdings UK Limited.

All 33 employees of R2S (including the employees transferred from SEIL and SeaEnergy) were transferred as part of the transaction. With the exception of one individual, all employees are based in Aberdeen.

Of the remaining seven SeaEnergy employees, three have been made redundant immediately following the appointment and four have been retained to assist the Joint Administrators.

Blair Nimmo, Joint Administrator and UK Head of Restructuring for KPMG, said: “We are pleased to have concluded the sale of R2S to James Fisher, which will safeguard the majority of jobs within the Group, maintain customer service, and provide the best outcome for SeaEnergy’s creditors.

“Based on the information available at present, it is unlikely there will be any recovery for the shareholders.”

Meanwhile, even as the new Scottish business and energy ministers were meeting with industry chiefs in Aberdeen, the county’s chief economist warned that there may be further N. Sea oil and gas job losses in the pipeline.

The Scottish Government’s State of the Economy report said that the continued downturn in the North Sea and the impact it will have on other industries will be a “key uncertainty” for Scotland’s economy.

Gary Gillespie, Chief Economist, added: “While Scotland’s GDP has increased by 1.9% in 2015, this is significantly below the rate of growth experienced the previous year.”

Keith Brown, MSP, said: “While this is a difficult time for the industry and the workforce, important steps are underway to adapt to the current low oil price environment.

“Efficiency initiatives are starting to produce results – for example a considerable effort from industry to improve production efficiency has led to an increase in annual production for the first time in 15 years. I aim to listen and, where I can, to act in the best interest of this important industry.

“However, the UK Government retains control of the key taxation levers affecting the sector, and must take the action needed to protect jobs.

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed