Global Energy sells 25% stake to Mitsui in drive for further growth

John Swinney with Motoo Ono, general manager of Mitsui. Picture: Okabe Kzuyo
John Swinney with Motoo Ono, general manager of Mitsui. Picture: Okabe Kzuyo
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The owners of Scottish engineering heavyweight Global Energy have sold 25 per cent of the company to Japanese conglomerate Mitsui in order to fund plans to grow the business and cement a partnership between the two firms.

Inverness and Aberdeen-based Global, which works in renewables as well as oil and gas and has a £230 million turnover, is behind the revival of the Nigg fabrication site on the Cromarty Firth.

Yesterday, it said that the undisclosed sum paid by Mitsui and the new industrial partnership would reinforce its strategy of expansion and acquisitions in the UK and beyond.

Global’s founder and chairman, Roy MacGregor, said it was a “hugely important step” for the company that “can go a very long way towards meeting the demand for UK-based construction for offshore infrastructure and related services that is currently being met overseas”.

He continued: “We are very excited by the new opportunities we know will open to us in the UK and internationally through working together with a multinational company of the standing of Mitsui,” he said.

“We believe this new chapter in our development will see us build on our strong track record by creating more job and career opportunities and bringing new skills and knowledge to Scotland.”

MacGregor said Global was already well acquainted with Mitsui after working with the group on a number of projects. He added: “The chemistry between us is extremely good and I have absolutely no doubt this alliance will add value to our business and Mitsui’s investment will assist us in the delivery of both our home and international business plans.”

Global, which employs more than 4,300 people and until yesterday was wholly owned by the MacGregor family, bought the former North Sea oil fabrication facility at Nigg in October 2011.

The company is transforming the 238-acre site, renamed Nigg Energy Park, into a multi-user facility serving a range of energy sectors, including oil gas and renewables. It recently opened a new training facility at the park, which is being developed by a public-private partnership to meet the skills requirements of the industry.

Nigg’s huge and historic dry dock opened for the first time in nearly a decade last month to admit a rig for an upgrade. Speaking in Aberdeen yesterday, Mitsui’s European senior vice-president, Noboru Katsu, said his firm’s investment was “great news for the Scottish economy.

“We do not see this investment as purely Mitsui taking an equity share in the business, but rather we see ourselves as an industrial partner to aid the growth of Global both at home in Scotland, the UK and on an international basis.

“The highlight of this partnership is that it will create further business opportunities, but I also firmly believe Mitsui can learn from Global in many other ways including how local stakeholders in the community can benefit from such inward investments.”

Founded in 1876, Mitsui is a diversified trading, investment and service company with a worldwide network of 154 offices in 67 countries and 15 business units ranging from shipping and aerospace to chemicals and steel.

The partnership will see Mitsui have two places on the Global’s board of directors.

Scottish finance secretary John Swinney, who was yesterday at Mitsui’s headquarters in Tokyo, said the deal would create jobs and career opportunities.

He added: “This investment is helping to transform Scotland’s industrial base at the same time as confirming confidence in the long-term prospects of our trillion pound-plus oil and gas industry.”