Global Energy Group eyes Australian mining sector

Global Energy Group (GEG), the Inverness-based oil and gas services heavyweight, has made its fourth acquisition in Australia, cementing the country as its biggest market outside the UK.

GEG sees the mining sector as a key growth market. Picture: Reuters
GEG sees the mining sector as a key growth market. Picture: Reuters

The firm is buying the Australian arm of Cunningham Construction from its New Zealand parent company, in a deal that eases GEG’s entry into the mining sector, which it sees as a key growth market.

Cunningham, a prominent resource management provider throughout the Australasia mining sector, specialising in scaffolding and rigging, also adds a further A$13 million (£7.2m) in turnover to GEG’s A$100m business “down under”.

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Chief executive Iain MacGregor said: “Australia has become GEG’s second-largest market next to the UK. Despite recent volatility in the mining and oil and gas sector, we are confident in further investing in this region.”

MacGregor said GEG wanted to establish “a very Australian business” whilst bringing new specialist skills and the company’s focus on cost control to the region.

He said: “The recent dip in global activity has only fuelled our business, with customers now focusing on more cost-effective solutions to running their facilities.

“The most recent acquisition of Cunningham further enhances our presence in the market, and is particularly strategic by facilitating our entry into the mature mining sector.”

Having established its regional headquarters in Perth in Western Australia in September 2011, the group has expanded by buying a string of successful Australian businesses as well as developing its specialist services organically.

The Cunningham purchase comes just over a year since GEG’s third Australian deal, the acquisition of inspection specialist Vertech.

MacGregor said that he hoped to conclude at least one more acquisition between now and April.

GEG did not disclose a value for the latest deal but it is thought to have been funded out of the company’s existing warchest, which includes retained profits and a facility with Lloyds Banking Group.

Cunningham Construction was founded in 2005 and is the Australian branch of the New Zealand-based scaffolding and rigging company of the same name. The company’s managing director in Australia, Sean Cunningham, will join GEG as part of the deal.

He said: “Joining a group with GEG’s reputation and scale will enable us to strengthen our offering and realise further growth in the region, building upon our successes to date.”

Founded in 2005, GEG has grown rapidly and now employs more than 4,000 people worldwide.

It owns the Nigg fabrication yard on the Cromarty Firth, an acquisition it completed in 2011.

Earler this year it announced plans to invest £37m into Nigg after getting the go ahead from planning authorities to build 1,000 metres of deep-water quayside.

The facilities are intended to serve the oil and gas sector as well as the anticipated future needs of the growing renewables industry.