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Fuelled by £4.5m deal, HCS pushes for growth

HCS is planning an international growth push after clinching a �4.5 million financing package from Royal Bank of Scotland. Picture: Getty

HCS is planning an international growth push after clinching a �4.5 million financing package from Royal Bank of Scotland. Picture: Getty

  • by DOMINIC JEFF
 

A FIFE-BASED oil and gas engineering company is planning an international growth push after clinching a £4.5 million financing package from Royal Bank of Scotland.

HCS Control Systems, which is headquartered in Glenrothes and has a facility in Aberdeen, said it will use the funding to target opportunities with new and existing customers in a market that is crying out for its services.

Chief executive Brett Lestrange said: “This re-financing package will play an important part in driving forward our growth ambitions.

“The oil and natural gas market is at its strongest level for more than three decades with a substantial rise in global consumption.

“As one of a small number of companies in the global subsea sector with the required knowledge and engineering skills to meet these increasing levels of customer demands, we are ideally placed to further develop our business and delighted to be working with RBS to help make this happen.”

HCS is a specialist manufacturer of engineered mechanical, hydraulic and electrical systems for the subsea oil and gas sector.

The company’s offering includes design, engineering, specialist welding and fabrication processes.

Established in 1997, it is supported by private equity firms Maven Capital Partners and Simmons Parallel Energy which, together with Front Row Energy Partners, led a so-called “buy-in management buy-out” transaction, also known as a “bimbo”, in 2013.

Lestrange said that since last year’s buy-out HCS’s finances had been tight and management had been forced to spend time on cashflow issues.

Nevertheless, the company has expanded, taking its headcount from about 50 to almost 80. It expects to hit the 100 mark over the next year.

The firm tendered for a more complex set of banking facilities and said it received a number of good offers, before picking RBS and moving all its banking to the Scottish lender.

Much of the money will go into expanding the firm’s fleet of specialist offshore and subsea equipment.

Lestrange added: “This gives us the chance to actually focus on running the business. We see a lot of opportunities and we haven’t had the money to pursue them.”

He said a shortage of specialist equipment had been holding the firm back, and now it intends to buy ten units to significantly expand its relatively small fleet.

RBS’s support of HCS marks the tenth deal completion in as many months for the bank’s Aberdeen-based structured finance team.

Lee Donaldson, director of structured finance at RBS, said: “This deal with HCS is a further example of our strong commitment to growth businesses operating within this sector.”

 

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