Energy Cranes buys subsea cable firm Baricon Systems

Energy Cranes International, an offshore crane and mechanical handling services contractor, has acquired Aberdeen-based Baricon Systems.

The deal, which moves Energy Cranes into the fast-growing subsea cable and pipe-laying markets, was worth £8.7 million. The deal was funded by a banking syndicate led by Royal Bank of Scotland and included Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds TSB.

Energy Cranes was bought by its management weeks before this deal was completed with the support of Close Brothers Private Equity.

John Jordon, Energy Cranes’ chief executive, said he targeted Baricon as it operates in a sector he believes will grow rapidly as industry demand for longer and larger-diameter spooled pipeline installations increases.

Energy Cranes chief financial officer Adrian Bannister said the buy-out provided management with funding to fuel several planned additions to the group. “We are delighted to have completed the Baricon acquisition so soon after the main deal, and now look forward to moving ahead with other acquisition plans while continuing the development of the existing businesses.”

Baricon’s managing director Bill Morrison will continue to manage the business following completion, which will trade as a subsidiary of Energy Cranes.

Morrison said with the financial strength of Energy Cranes the company will grow its export sales operations more rapidly than would have been possible from its own resources.

Energy Cranes appointed a team at energy data consultancy Infield Systems to manage commercial and market due diligence on Baricon’s operations.

The firm’s team was led by director of analytical services Will Rowley, who was supported by analysts George Venturas and Ioanna Karra.

Rowley said his team used the firm’s proprietary data and information resources, including the specialist vessel database and OFFPEXTM Market Modelling & Forecasting System, to complete the study.

“We were able to accurately position Baricon within its selected markets and highlight in detail its opportunities and any strategic challenges,” he added. “This ability to accurately position the company allowed Energy Cranes to move the transaction forward quickly and with greater confidence.”

The vendor received financial advice from Acumen Accountants and Advisors, led by Steve Mitchell, head of corporate and commercial.

Mitchell, who was supported by senior tax manager Andy Bain, said Baricon is a long-standing audit client of the firm.

“There was a tight deadline to meet to ensure the deal was completed before 5 April so that the vendor could take advantage of business asset taper relief before the CGT changes took effect,” he added.

Aberdeen-based Energy Cranes has 2,000 employees at 19 locations across six continents. Its subsidiaries include Sparrows Offshore and Aberdeen Hydraulics.

Baricon was established in 1988 and has developed a range of carousels and tensioner systems for the storage and deployment of sub-sea pipelines, flowlines, control lines and cables.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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