Jobs saved as IMES Group finds buyer

Former CBI chairman’s firm sold in cash crisis

Melfort CampbellAn oil and gas company founded by a former chairman of CBI Scotland has been sold to a private equity business after the directors put it into administration.

Aberdeen based inspection and engineering specialist IMES, founded by Melfort Campbell, suffered cash flow problems caused by falling orders and cuts in capital expenditure following the oil price collapse.

Blair Nimmo and Geoff Jacobs of KPMG were appointed joint administrators and have sold the business to Seanamic Group backed by the Simmons Private Equity Fund.

All 49 employees were transferred to the new owner, 23 based in Aberdeen with the remainder at depots in Rosyth (6), Sheffield (7), Portsmouth (6) and Plymouth (7). 

The deal was hailed by one source as “fantatic news” for the employees and the company which has been seeking fresh funds.

It was set up by Melfort Campbell, who was chairman of CBI Scotland from 2005 to 2007. The company had a turnover of around £5 million and was cash generative in 2014 before it began to experience cash flow challenges in last year due to the ongoing oil price decline.

The directors struggled to find new investment and put the company up for sale. 

Mr Nimmo said: “In these difficult times for the oil and gas sector in particular, we are pleased to have concluded the sale to Seanamic Group, which will safeguard the jobs of the company’s employees, preserve customer service and provide the best available outcome for all stakeholders of IMES Limited.

“The administration of IMES is another example of the current challenges in the oil and gas sector whilst also demonstrating that there is appetite for investment in stressed and distressed businesses in the sector.”

Mr Campbell, a non-executive director, declined to comment on the sale and it is not clear whether he will remain with the business.

He also served as chairman of the Robert Gordon University board of governors and has been involved in European and UK programmes for the development of enterprise, innovation, economic development and business and education links.

He has been on the boards of a number of organisations in the oil and gas industry, including the Scottish Enterprise Oil and Gas Advisory Board , Innovation Scotland and the Oil and Gas UK Contractors Council.

He also has charitable interests as chairman of the Atlantic Salmon Trust and as a board member of Dreamstore, as well as an interest in running the family farm outside Aberdeen.



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