Offshore Containers Group Proposes Acquisitions of Aberdeen Cos

Aberdeen-based Offshore Containers has entered into agreements on the terms of its third and fourth acquisitions since its formation one year ago.

The proposed deals, to acquire Aberdeen-based businesses Vertec Engineering Limited (Vertec) and the hire division of Labtech Systems Limited (Labtech), each from Sovereign Oilfield Group PLC, remain subject to the approval of the sellers' shareholders in a General Meeting to be held shortly.

Offshore Containers was formed in 2008 by private equity groups: Lansdowne Capital and Claver Capital, as a vehicle to develop a leading worldwide rental business, focused on the needs of topside activities in the oil services sector. Its initial moves included snapping up two specialist offshore container rental and sales companies; Containental Offshore, in Aberdeen, and London-based Offshore Containers Limited for approximately £10 million.

Lansdowne Capital, Claver Capital and Offshore Containers' incumbent debt provider, Royal Bank of Scotland, have all committed to provide additional funding in support of these proposed acquisitions.

The acquisitions of Vertec and the hire division and rental fleet of Labtech will enable Offshore Containers to expand its geographic coverage to new regions and offer a wider range of products to its oil services' customers.

Offshore Containers' employee numbers will expand to around 85 as a result of the deal, while the enlarged group turnover will increase to over £17 million for the current financial year.

Dyce-based Vertec was established over 20 years ago to design and build service cabins and control rooms for the oil & gas industry and has established a strong reputation for the quality and excellence of its specialist design and engineering capability.

The Labtech hire division operates a fleet of over 60, A60 offshore service cabins and workshops. These units are built to the highest levels of industry specifications and are capable of operating in both hazardous and safe zone environments for the global offshore energy market. After completion of the acquisition the Labtech hire division will be integrated into Vertec, and trade under that name going forward.

The Labtech manufacturing division will continue under Sovereign Oilfield Group PLC's ownership but will cease to provide any offshore service cabin rental or hire offering post-completion.

Offshore Containers now plans to grow Vertec into the number one worldwide supplier of well service and control cabins in terms of design & build, and rental & service.

Offshore Containers' chief executive, John Heiton, commented, "Vertec is already a market leader in its niche sector, with an established client base and an unparalleled reputation for engineering and design excellence.

"In addition, the combination of the Labtech hire division with Vertec's existing rental cabins positions us as one of the pre-eminent global providers of service cabins and workshop container rental. We intend to build on this base and our aim is to invest and grow the rental fleet to 200 modules in the next few years in tandem with the ongoing expansion of our current offshore container business."

Vertec managing director, David Soper, who will continue in his present role following the deal, added, "This move is a positive one for the company and paves the way for future business and market growth. We believe the news will be well received by our staff and we are looking forward to continued success during 2009 and beyond."

Stuart Roberts, head of RBS structured finance in Aberdeen, added, "Offshore Containers has an excellent understanding of its industry and the business has developed at a considerable pace since the management buyout last year. One of the company's real strengths is its customer service, evidenced by exceptional customer loyalty, which translates into repeat sales. We’re delighted to be helping Offshore Containers continue to grow."


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