Proserv snaps up Nautronix in major deal

Both firms are headquartered in Aberdeen Picture: Craig Stephen
Both firms are headquartered in Aberdeen Picture: Craig Stephen
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ENERGY services company Proserv has bought an Aberdeen-based underwater communications specialist in a “multi-million pound” deal.

Proserv, which is also headquartered in Aberdeen and owned by US private equity group Riverstone, is taking on the 120 staff who work at Nautronix which supplies subsea digital acoustic communication products and positioning services to the oil and gas industry.

Nautronix chief operating officer Mark Patterson will also join Proserv under the deal which the firm said strengthens its position as a leading player in the controls and communications market.

David Lamont, Proserv’s chief executive officer, said the two companies had been working towards a deal for over a year.

“While times in our industry are challenging, the rationale and benefits to all stakeholders including employees, shareholders and our clients remain as strong, if not stronger than ever,” said Lamont.

“Individually, the two companies have been doing well in these more demanding times; together, however, we are much stronger, bringing a combined technology platform that is both unique and of great potential to deliver truly game changing solutions to our customers to meet the challenges and more importantly deliver the opportunities facing the industry today and in the future.”

Patterson will lead the Nautronix team during the integration process and is also taking on a position as head of strategy and new ventures for the Proserv group. Nautronix was originally founded in 1983 before moving to Aberdeen in 2003.

Patterson added: “It was important for us to find the right company to partner with and we are delighted that it’s Proserv. Strategically, this is a fantastic opportunity for Nautronix as we can leverage from the increased exposure globally. That, combined with our considerable experience in the drilling, subsea and survey market, presents us with considerable opportunities.”

Its latest accounts for the 12 months to 30 June show Nautronix, which was acquired by investment firm SCF Partners in 2010, saw turnover increase by 15 per cent year-on-year in the period although exceptional items saw pre-tax profits drop to £526,469 in the period, compared to £2m in the year before.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, came as a new collaboration between the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult was announced in a bid to help the industry down manufacturing cost.

Under the agreement, OGIC will host a representative from HMV Catapult in its Aberdeen office to support engagement with the oil and gas industry and drive cross-industry collaboration and innovation.

The HVM Catapult is a network of major UK technology and innovation centres which are co-operating to fund the post to bring their know-how to the oil and gas sector.