ONE of the directors credited with turning Petrofac from a small engineering company into a FTSE 100 energy services giant will this week unveil his plans for further international expansion at Aberdeen-based Viking Moorings.
Bill Bayliss, who was a vice-president in Petrofac’s facilities management division, will rebrand the offshore oil and gas mooring business as Viking SeaTech to reflect the broader range of services on offer from the company, which is owned by HSBC Private Equity.
Bayliss was drafted in during September to restructure the company and put it on a firmer footing for expansion.
Viking signed a £73 million refinancing agreement with HSBC and Norwegian lender DNB Bank in January, with the loan allowing the company to move into fresh markets in Indonesia and the United States.
Bayliss – who joined Viking from Topaz Engineering in Dubai, where he was chief operating officer – revealed that the company is also running the rule over Malaysia, with a view to opening an office in the fast-growing south-east Asian economy.
Viking, which was launched in 1985 as part of Aberdeen-based Balmoral Group, already has offices in the UK, Norway, Singapore and Australia.
The firm was bought for £22m in 2006 by Inflexion Private Equity as part of a management buyout. HSBC then took over the company in 2009 and is thought to have paid about £180m.
Bayliss will be joined for Thursday’s relaunch of the company by former CBI director general and fellow West Midlands business leader Lord Digby Jones.
The pair met in Australia, where Lord Jones was addressing an offshore conference and Bayliss was promoting Viking’s office.
Bayliss is diversifying Viking’s work from simply hiring and supplying equipment to offering a broader range of services, including around the moving and positioning of oil rigs and accommodation platforms.
As well as the geographic expansion, he is looking at moving Viking into other sectors of the offshore industry.
Many energy experts expect the offshore wind industry will require large accommodation vessels to be moored near wind farms so engineers can service giant turbines.
Bayliss said: “We’ve already been involved with the moorings for a giant floating wind turbine off the coast of Norway. This is definitely an area we’ll be looking at.”
News of the expansion drive comes on the back of a series of big contract wins for the company.
In Singapore, Viking recently sealed a deal with Van Oord, the largest marine hire contract ever awarded in the south-east Asian city state.
Ocean Rig has also chosen the Scottish company for a large contract in Norway, while in Egypt the firm is overseeing oil rig moves for Rashpetco.
Bayliss expects the business, which employs about 130 staff, to turn over £60m this year and wants to grow revenues by between 15 and 20 per cent year on year.
Expanding into the Gulf of Mexico and Indonesia could add a further ten staff to Viking’s headcount, but Bayliss doesn’t expect a huge jump in staff numbers as the firm concentrates on consultancy and other services which are not as labour-intensive.
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