Aberdeenshire pipeline firm Stats Group expects steady 2020 despite oil price blow

Stats Group, the Aberdeenshire-headquartered pipeline technology specialist with a global presence, expects revenues to hold firm despite the impact of Covid-19 and weaker oil prices after flagging a “healthy” programme of work.

The group operates from its headquarters in Kintore, Aberdeenshire in the UK; Edmonton, Canada; Houston, USA; Abu Dhabi, Oman and Qatar in the Middle East; and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Picture: Simon Price

New accounts show that the firm generated revenues of £39.1 million and underlying earnings of £5.6m last year.

While revenues were 10 per cent lower than the year before, the largest ever contract completed by the group, for a major Abu Dhabi client, made a significant contribution to the 2018 results, skewing the comparison.

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Bosses said they were confident that the 2020 performance and activity levels would be broadly consistent with those of 2019.

Stats, which is based in Kintore, near Aberdeen, provides pressurised pipeline isolation, “hot tapping” and plugging services to the global oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Thanks to international growth, some 85 per cent of revenues are now derived from projects executed outside of the UK, a rise of 5 percentage points on the year before.

The firm highlighted a number of “milestone achievements” in 2019, including increasing its market presence in the US, where revenues grew by 176 per cent on the previous year, completing a major isolation campaign in Malaysia and progress on long-term contracts in the Norwegian North Sea and Nigeria.

Chief executive Leigh Howarth said: “As Covid-19 evolved into a global pandemic during the early part of 2020, this had an impact on our trading performance.

“Not surprisingly, several significant contracts which had been a long time in planning were postponed by our clients until later this year or 2021, but on the positive side there is healthy programme of work ahead of us.

“The introduction of new working practices has allowed us to continue delivering our services and, encouragingly, secure new work. As a result, and notwithstanding the impact of Covid-19 and the resulting lower demand for oil and the subsequent drop in price, we are optimistic that activity levels in 2020 will be broadly consistent with those of 2019.”

The group’s pre-tax profits for last year were £200,000 compared to £2.5m in 2018, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation decreased from £7.6m to £5.6m.

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