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McColl looks to break into oil services sector

ENTREPRENEUR Jim McColl is working on deals to acquire two businesses to take his Clyde Blowers empire into the oilfield services sector in the North Sea.

OPPORTUNITY: Clyde Blowers boss Jim McColl is looking to expand his business empire with more acquisitions. Picture: Jamie Simpson
OPPORTUNITY: Clyde Blowers boss Jim McColl is looking to expand his business empire with more acquisitions. Picture: Jamie Simpson

The businessman – who once had a spell in charge of Hunting Oilfield Services – told The Herald one company was based in America but if he was successful in taking it over he would bring it to Aberdeen.

The other firm being looked at is based in Scotland and Mr McColl believes it has great potential to grow.

He hopes to announce completion of the deals early in 2013. He said: "I believe there is a new era of big opportunity in the North Sea. It is mainly brown-field sites where there has already been oil taken out.

"New technology is making it easier to extract more from the wells. Traditionally when you extract oil from a well the first half is easy. The big companies then move on after that but there is still a lot of oil down there.

"We are already looking at some deals and companies that will take us back into oilfield services. One is an American company we will bring in to Aberdeen. There is also a Scottish company that has been great in the past but has shrunk.

"We want to make significant investment in it and grow it back up again."

Mr McColl, in Glasgow to give a speech at the New Start Scotland Exhibition, is also hopeful of locating an offshore wind turbine assembly plant in Scotland.

His Clyde Blowers group is developing a seven megawatt turbine through its David Brown subsidiary in conjunction with Samsung Heavy Industries.

Clyde also bought Finnish turbine maker Moventas out of bankruptcy earlier this year.

He said: "To do offshore wind in Scotland you need to at least put together the manufacturing assembly and testing capability. It needs to be onshore but by the dock side so you can ship this equipment off as it is so big and heavy."

One of the seven MW turbines is slated to go to Methil in Fife next year and Mr McColl predicts larger volumes for offshore wind will start to come through in 2015 and 2016.

He said: "Once that [manufacturing] gets into volumes we will have to assemble that in Scotland. It might be Leith or Methil or somewhere like that.

"We would be in discussions with our partners and we are very strongly pushing anyone we are working with to put it in Scotland rather than the north of England."

Earlier this year Mr McColl was involved in a consortium which looked at buying Rangers Football Club and yesterday confirmed he may invest in shares during the club's initial public offering but has not yet made up his mind.

However, he was encouraged to see Walter Smith joining the board and praised current chief executive Charles Green for doing a good job "against a tough background".

Mr McColl would like to see much of the money raised during the IPO being put towards youth development.

He said: "There is a one-off opportunity to focus on creating a world-leading youth development football academy.

"I would like to see some of the money invested in top coaches and motivational psychologists.

"I know Ally McCoist and Walter Smith will be able to identify young talent. If they buy them and make them into better players, they can sell them to generate more capital.

"More importantly it creates a pool of talent for when [Rangers] get back into the top league and Europe."

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