By Scott Wright

DIRECTORS of an Aberdeen-based subsea technology firm are in line to share a $3 million (£2.3m) pay-out after the business was acquired by an international energy services giant.

Enpro Subsea, which works with offshore operators in the global oil and gas industry, was snapped up by London-listed Hunter in a $33m (£25.5m) deal yesterday.

The deal gives Enpro managing director Ian Donald and six fellow directors the chance to share in a pay-out of up to $3m, depending on its profits performance this year. Enpro reported underlying profits of $3.4m on revenue of $14.1m in the year ended December 31. It had net assets of around $9.4m and an order book of about $11m at year end.

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Since its establishment in 2011, the Scottish firm has developed subsea production technology solutions which have been adopted by oil and gas companies in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa, where more than 70 of its applications have been adopted.

The products are designed to offer “low-cost, flexible field development solutions” to help enhance recovery from oil and gas wells.

Hunting, whose roots can be traced back to 1874, manufactures high-end tools and components to extract hydrocarbons across the lifecycle of oil and gas wells. Headquartered in London, and with a corporate office in Houston, it has operations in Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the US.

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Hunter has acquired 100 per cent of the issued share capital in Enpro, as well as its subsidiaries in Norway, the US and Ghana, in a cash deal from the management team and Energy Ventures Private Equity (EV), which took a minority stake in January 2018. Further to the deal, Enpro will continue to be led by its existing senior team from its existing facilities in Westhill, Aberdeen, where the bulk of its 40 staff are based.

Mr Donald said: “This is an exciting and positive transaction which represents a new chapter in the successful evolution of the company. With Hunting, we see significant opportunity to globalise our business and to enhance delivery of our production enhancing subsea technologies and services to our valued customers.”

In a statement issued to the stock market, Hunting said it aims to bring manufacturing at Enpro in-house, altering its current outsourcing model. It noted its intention to utilise its existing global manufacturing platform to further commercialise the Enpro technology across all of its regional operating hubs, and highlighted the prospects for Enpro broadening its market reach within Hunting’s customer base.

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Hunting chief executive Jim Johnson said: “The acquisition of Enpro further strengthens Hunting’s subsea offering and adds a high technology product group to our portfolio. The offshore market continues to strengthen and we look forward to providing a wider technology offering to our customers who continue to seek lower cost, enhanced production and more efficient solutions to the production of oil and gas.”

EV’s exit from Enpro comes two years after it invested an undisclosed sum in the Scottish firm as part of a drive to invest $200m into growing North Sea businesses. At the time, Enpro said the cash injection would allow it to develop its patented flow access module technology, and capitalise on the success if its flow intervention services and decommissioning systems.

Its sale comes shortly after Peterhead-based Score Group, the global energy services engineer, was sold to private equity firm SCF Partners in December. With 800 of its 1,900 global headcount based in Peterhead, Score, chaired by former Weir Group chief executive Keith Cochrane, is the biggest employer in the north-east town.

Mr Cochrane said: “In SCF Partners, we have found a buyer that understands Charles’ ambitions for the business. These were to ensure the long-term growth of the company, creating and safe-guarding opportunities for its employees and maintaining its positive impact on the north-east

of Scotland.”