CENTURION Group, the acquisitive oil services heavyweight, has achieved a significant increase in its firepower as it eyes expansion in the North Sea.

The Aberdeen-based group has secured an extra $18m (£14m) debt funding from banks taking the total available to $270m.

The private equity-backed group said the funding would allow it to use strategic acquisitions to supplement organic growth.

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The group said it is actively looking for mergers and acquisition opportunities globally in key regions, which include the UK North Sea.

“Centurion has a strong financial position with a robust balance sheet and strong cash flow, and this extension will allow us to continue expanding through highly selective, complementary acquisitions and capital investments,” said chief financial officer Euan Leask.

While some firms in the oil services supply chain are still feeling the impact of the deep downturn triggered by the crude price plunge, Centurion reckons there are good growth prospects in the sector.

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Some oil services sector watchers think the downturn created opportunities for firms to expand in what remains a fragmented industry.

Centurion was created in 2018 by US private equity business SCF, which merged a number of firms active in the oil services, mining and infrastructure sectors to form a global business run from Aberdeen.

It has acquired a range of businesses in recent months. These include firms based in the UK and the US.

The partial recovery in the crude price since late 2016 has encouraged oil and gas firms to invest in North Sea developments.

Prominent lenders such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank and HSBC have signalled growing confidence in Centurion’s prospects.

Centurion secured a $60m extension to its bank facilities in May last year. The group is supported by a seven-strong syndicate of lenders.