Fletcher Shipping snaps up third North Sea supply ship

NORTH Sea supply specialist Fletcher Shipping has purchased its third vessel in five years with a multi-million pound deal to take over the running of the supply ship FS Taurus.

Currently operating in the Forties section of the North Sea, Taurus will take the total number of employees at Fletcher to 90. Set up in 2007 with backing from the Royal Bank of Scotland, the company transports food, equipment and other supplies to offshore oil and gas operators.

The purchase of the Taurus – a 2,600 tonne vessel built in 1991 – has been backed by RBS and the Scottish Loan Fund (SLF) run by Maven Capital. The SLF provided £4 million upfront, with the option to draw down a further £1m, to help part-fund the deal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Keith Fletcher, managing director of Fletcher Shipping, said the funding was an endorsement of the strategy of buying high-quality used vessels to service the booming North Sea market. Fletcher’s other ships – Aquarius and Pegasus – also have long-term contracts.

“We are delighted to be in the position of adding a third vessel to our expanding fleet,” Fletcher said.

“The joint investment between Maven and RBS has allowed us to pursue our growth strategy and realise the potential that remains in the North Sea for vessels of this size and capability.”

Set up in 2011 by the Scottish Investment Bank division of Scottish Enterprise, the SLF aims to help plug the funding gap for small and mid-sized firms. To date, it has put more than £20m into seven companies.