Aker agrees record letting deal for Scotland

Aker Solutions: Scotland's biggest office letting deal. Picture: Scanpix
Aker Solutions: Scotland's biggest office letting deal. Picture: Scanpix
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AKER Solutions, the Norwegian oil technology business, has agreed what is believed to be Scotland’s biggest office letting as it expands its UK presence.

The firm said it would be taking more than 330,000 square feet of office space at a new development close to the city’s airport.

The three interlinked buildings will be able to house some 2,400 staff and form the first phase of the Aberdeen International Business Park. When completed, the site will offer 1,000,000sq ft of offices and is likely to include at least one hotel.

Aker is one of the biggest private sector employers in Aberdeen with operations spread across six sites. Subsea – the company’s largest business area – is already located in Dyce.

David Currie, the group’s regional head in the UK, said: “This move is a long-term investment for us and underlines our commitment to Aberdeen and our customers in the area.

“The new offices will provide high-quality facilities and enable us to bring the majority of our employees in Aberdeen together in one central location.”

The firm said it had agreed to lease the office complex for 20 years as part of a wider expansion in the UK. The total annual rent will be £7.74 million.

Related facilities at the development, which is expected to be ready for occupation in the second quarter of 2015, include a fitness centre with squash courts, a nursery and an auditorium.

Property developer Abstract said that now the letting had been agreed, it would be looking to bring forward the next phases of the business park “at an early stage”. Plans are currently under development for the next office building as well as an hotel.

Mark Glatman, of Abstract, said: “The position of Aberdeen International Business Park adjacent to Aberdeen International Airport, the quality of the development and the developing local road infrastructure makes this park an obvious and logical location for major international companies active in the Aberdeen market.

“The facilities available to Aker Solutions staff within their buildings will be on a level with the very best of any office anywhere in the UK.”

Aker, which employs 28,000 people in some 30 countries, said the first 12 months of the lease would be free rent. The firm also has options to extend the lease for three five-year periods, with the rent subject to open market review.

Last month, it emerged that work was to start on another major office development in Aberdeen after Wood Group’s core PSN division signed a long-term lease. The new-build CityPark will be located on Hareness Road, and will be completed and ready for the firm to move in by the end of next year.

The deal cements Aberdeen as the headquarters of the global business and points to an ongoing focus on maturing operations in the North Sea. At 215,000sq ft, the office is designed to house 1,900 employees.