OIL and gas engineering sector veteran Mel Maitland has sold the well tools business he developed in what looks likely to have been a multi-million pound deal.

Mr Maitland sold Aberdeen-based Black Gold Oil Tools to a neighbouring business, AJT Engineering, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition will allow AJT to broaden the range of services it provides and give the firm additional skilled staff and yard space to help grow its operations.

Managing director Ken Gauld said AJT Engineering was very pleased to have been able to buy Black Gold Oil Tools as Mr Maitland heads into a well-earned retirement.

He said Black Gold has an international reputation and would be a good fit for AJT, which provides services such as the repair and fabrication of offshore equipment. It is a subsidiary of Kent-based Camellia.

AJT has divisions specialising in heat and metal treatment based in East Kilbride and Port Glasgow respectively.

The company said Aim-listed Camellia had been very supportive of the business during the downturn triggered by the sharp fall in the oil price from 2014 to 2016 and had helped the firm to diversify.

Companies House filings show Black Gold Oil Tools had £1.5m net assets at 31 May 2017.

The company was founded in 1974.

Black Gold’s 19 employees will join AJT, which has 127 staff members.

Camellia owns a range of engineering businesses and has interests in agriculture, food services and stamp collecting.

With its roots in a tea growing business establihsed in India 130 years ago, Camellia says it invests in firms operating in markets in which they are required to take a long view.

The downturn in the North Sea created challanges for many services firms amid deep cuts in spending by firms that operate oil and gas fields. However some firms believed that tough times for the industry provided opportunities for well-funded players to expand by acquiring other companies and winning business.