A HEAVILY backed Scottish technology firm sent into administration by the collapse in oil prices left its investors owed more than £70 million, documents filed at Companies House have revealed.
Aberdeen-based Gas2 spent ten years developing gas-to-liquid technology aimed at maximising mothballed and marginal gas fields.
But although early trials of the technology had been promising, the slump in the oil price meant the company had been unable to raise further funds and administrators were appointed last October.
Latest financial statements also show the company racked up losses totalling more than £35m in the last four years. Although it had raised significant finance in a number of funding rounds, the administrators said additional investment had been needed to fund the next phase of research.
“However, due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry they were unable to raise the necessary funding,” said joint administrators Tom MacLennan and Iain Fraser from FRP Advisory in a report.
The company, whose technology could also be used for the distribution of gas as a liquid into rural and remote areas, held discussions with a small number of parties to pursue opportunities such as joint ventures and a sale of the technology but these proved unsuccessful.
“After failing to obtain additional investment or a sale of the business the directors decided there was no alternative other than for the company to appoint administrators,” said the report.
Gas2 had been backed by a number of major investors, including specialist private equity firm Lime Rock Partners, which had a floating charge over the company’s property to the tune of £28.9m.
But Gas2 also had significant liabilities – more than £40m – under loan notes through which investors had provided the business with funds due to be repaid with interest in the years ahead, or to be converted into equity.
Holders of loan notes included Scottish Enterprise, which had invested £1.8m, and Robert Gordon University, which had invested £300,000.
The documents also show Gas2 left money owing to trade creditors including £8,220 to Aberdeen City Council for business rates. The total deficiency, according to the statement of affairs at Companies House, tops £70.5m.
It is not known if creditors will get any of the money owed back but the administrators estimate there will be a partial dividend payable when the company’s affairs are finalised.
Based in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, the company had also invested in a plant at the Wilton Centre on Teesside.
Gas2 had a worldwide licence agreement with Robert Gordon University for patents which had originally been developed at the university and the company also owned a portfolio of patents applications for the technology it had developed itself.
The fall in oil price was earlier this month blamed for a wider slowdown in the Scottish economy during the final quarter of 2015.
Last week BP became the latest in the sector to announce job losses, with up to 600 North Sea posts at risk.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to hold showdown talks with BP chiefs in Aberdeen next month to discuss the job cuts. A spokeswoman said that the meeting will cover a range of issues