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Oil and gas deal expands McColl empire

JIM McColl's Clyde Blowers Capital intends to invest up to £50 million in Scottish engineering business Parsons Peebles Generation (PPG) after buying it for an undisclosed sum.

EXPANSION: Jim McColl has said Clyde Blowers is considering further acquisitions after buying up PPG.
EXPANSION: Jim McColl has said Clyde Blowers is considering further acquisitions after buying up PPG.

Rosyth-based PPG, which traces its roots to the 19th century, makes specialist power-generation components and motors mainly for the oil and gas industry. At its peak it employed more than 3000 people, but now has just 41 staff.

Selling party Patersons Quarries, based in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, said it was receiving a "substantial cash injection" from the deal and its subsidiary Gartsherrie Engineering is staying on as a supplier to PPG.

Mr McColl said he hopes to more than double employee numbers at PPG in a short period of time and expects to invest between £15 million and £50m over the next few years, depending on demand.

Already he is looking at establishing a servicing centre in Aberdeen and one in the Middle East, plus expanding the company's existing premises.

He said: "Parsons Peebles was a really big company in its heyday. The company has grown smaller and smaller and ceased working on what it was good at because it didn't do the development work

"We see this as a great opportunity to buy into a company with a fantastic history which has the potential to grow into a significant business again.

"We are really pleased we have been able to get one like this in Scotland as there are not many of them left."

Mr McColl indicated PPG will be hiring large numbers of engineers to help update its product base.

He is also considering further acquisitions in the United States on the back of the number of PPG products installed in nuclear plants in that country.

He said: "We will have to invest in engineers to develop the products. The heritage products need to be updated and developed to be competitive in the modern market.

"We will be looking to build the number of people [at Rosyth] and expand on the site. I would suspect we would be more than doubling the 41 in a short period of time. We would like to invest in growing the global infrastructure and make some acquisitions as well.

"As it has a bit in the oil industry we will look to open a service facility in Aberdeen and the Middle East as well. Hopefully that will grow demand from the factory in Rosyth."

Mr McColl also highlighted the opportunities PPG has in the renewable energy sector.

He said: "Theoretically it could make the generators for wind turbines and could certainly service them. [PPG has] also done some big hydro projects in the past.

"We are very focused on investing in [PPG]. I could see us investing between £15m and £50m in this over the next few years."

Mr McColl also revealed he hopes to seal a deal for another oil and gas services business in the next few weeks.

He said: "We hope to complete [that soon]."

Mr McColl confirmed he has not bought any shares in Rangers since its stock market listing even though he was part of a consortium which tried to buy the club.

Willie Paterson, chairman of Patersons Quarries, said: "We are delighted to announce the sale of Parsons Peebles Generation to Clyde Blowers Capital, who can truly take the business back on to the global stage."

Clyde Blowers Capital was advised by Dundas & Wilson, Deloitte and Calash. Patersons Quarries was advised by Pinsent Masons and KPMG.

Companies owned by Clyde Blowers Capital

David Brown Gear Systems:makes industrial gear and drive systems

David Brown Hydraulics: makes hydraulic products for marine, construction and transport sectors

Clyde Bergemann Power Group: provides spare parts and consultancy to the power and environmental engineering markets

InterBulk Group: logistics firm specialising in the transport of liquid and dry bulk materials

Moventas: wind turbine gear manufacturer

Parsons Peebles Generation: makes power generation components and motors

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