French firm Technip in with deal to buy troubled Subocean

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FRENCH energy services group Technip was yesterday confirmed as the buyer of Aberdeen-based subsea cable laying business Subocean which went into administration last week.

The 10 million deal has saved about 300 remaining jobs at the company, which specialised in the offshore renewables sector, following around 50 redundancies made in the wake of the firm hitting cash-flow problems.

Technip said the deal to buy the firm, struck on the same day administrators at PwC were appointed on Friday, was in line with its ambitions to be a major player in the offshore renewables industry.

Last year, the firm named Aberdeen as its headquarters for all work on European offshore wind projects.

Ron Cookson, managing director of Technip UK, said: "We are very pleased to have been able to capitalise upon the high potential renewables market and look forward to welcoming Subocean into the Technip group."

Under the deal, the group will acquire Subocean's land-based assets and a number of key contracts.

Subocean, which had been led by managing director John Sinclair, had diversified from the oil and gas sector into offshore wind farms in recent years and had witnessed dramatic growth which led to it being named only last month as one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK.

Last year, the company reported sales of more than 65 million compared with just 1.7m four years ago and had also opened an office in Germany to spearhead growth in Europe. It secured a fresh 42m funding package from lenders including Lloyds' LDC and HSBC just over a year ago.

Subocean had admitted it was in financial difficulties last month and the administrators said they were appointed despite the efforts of the directors to find a "solvent solution" to protect both creditors and jobs. Technip employs 23,000 across the world and specialises in engineering and construction for the oil and gas industry.