Aberdeen vessel operator North Star nets £140 million for major wind support push

Aberdeen-based vessel operator North Star has secured £140 million in financing to support the next phase of its offshore wind growth plan and “seize” opportunities in Europe.

The investment includes a £50m commitment from the Scottish National Investment Bank, as well as IFM Investors, Edmond de Rothschild’s Bridge and RBC Capital Markets. North Star, which is owned by Partners Group, has bases in Aberdeen, Lowestoft and Newcastle, and has been operating in the North Sea for 135 years. Its 1,300-strong workforce currently manages and operates 42 offshore support vessels.

The firm entered the offshore wind market last year after winning all four long-term charter service operations vessel (SOV) awards for the giant Dogger Bank Wind Farm. These four vessels will be delivered from 2023, financed by a £127m project facility secured from Allianz Global Investors last year. SOVs provide accommodation for wind technicians and access to equipment while working remotely.

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North Star chief strategy officer Fraser Dobbie said: “Raising this level of corporate funding from the Scottish National Investment Bank and other investors, as well as the ongoing backing of Partners Group, provides us with the means to continue to add to our growing vessel fleet and supports our ambition to be a leading player in the European SOV market. The £140m secured today secures the capital required for us to continue our new building programme in the year ahead, whilst providing us with the flexibility to continue to expand these facilities to meet our strategy of 40 new SOVs by 2040.”

Jimmy Williamson, Scottish National Investment Bank executive director, said: “The bank is catalysing support for Scotland’s offshore wind supply chain by enabling companies like North Star to increase focus on providing vital services for offshore wind farms and in supporting their transition to net zero. This follows our investment in the Port of Aberdeen, which will continue to act as a hub for North Sea offshore services and, increasingly, new offshore wind farms, through its South Harbour expansion.”

The deal was supported by an advisory team including RBC Capital Markets, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Blackwood Partners, Shepherd & Wedderburn and PwC.

North Star entered the offshore wind market last year after winning all four long-term charter service operations vessel (SOV) awards for the giant Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

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