Asco on track to double in size through acquisitions and growth

Asco Group, the Aberdeen-based energy logistics specialist, said yesterday that it was on track to double in size within five years after gaining additional financial muscle from last year’s sale to private equity.

The firm, which oversees the delivery of goods and materials destined for oil rigs and platforms around the world, is also eyeing twin acquisitions in Canada as it looks to step up its presence in North America.

It said it was hopeful of completing the deals – the biggest of which is for a liquids handling business worth about C$25m-$30 million (£16m-£19.3m) – by early September. An acquisition in Australia is also on the cards.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Newly-published accounts for the group show that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) – the firm’s preferred measure of profitability – rose to £30.1m in 2011, from £29.2m a year earlier.

It is about half-way into a ten-year growth plan that should see Ebitda grow to more than £60m with its 1,600-strong global headcount likely to double.

Revenues last year rose to £626.5m from £516.7m. A large proportion of the group’s turnover varies with both the oil price and vessel supply market.

One-off charges related to last year’s acquisition by private equity firm Doughty Hanson pushed Asco to a pre-tax loss of £10.8m, compared with profits of £5m the year before.

Chief operating officer Derek Smith said the group had an acquisition facility of about £75m.

“The deal with Doughty has given us financial muscle,” he added.

Almost half of Asco’s workforce is based in Scotland.