NMS acquisition

Aurora’s third deal keeps £100m plan on track

Doug Duguid (left) with Alasdair Noble 

Aurora Energy Services has acquired Caithness-based lifting and inspection firm Northern Marine Services (Scotland), creating a company with the scale and finance required to work with larger clients.

NMS is a specialist provider of non-conventional lifting, inspection, logistics and marine services with customers including SSE, Subsea 7 and a number of windfarm, hydro power, telecoms and rail network clients. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

It is Aurora’s third acquisition of well-established Scottish businesses and follows the acquisitions of Huntly-based offshore services and fabrication company, R&M Engineering, and rope access and training specialist, Inverness Access Training Services.

Aurora plans to create a £100 million turnover international energy services provider over the next five years by mirroring and supporting the energy industry’s transition from oil and gas and by developing a strong presence in wind, solar, hydrogen, carbon capture & storage, pumped hydro and waste to energy sectors.

It has committed £750,000 to establish The Renewable Energy Training Centre in Inverness which will offer safety training and technical courses for onsite renewables operations, and reskilling programs for workers looking to transition into renewables sector jobs. 

Aurora has also invested in developing a full design engineering function at its headquarters in Aberdeen, plans for further expansion in Blyth and Great Yarmouth in the coming months, and is working on its first international acquisition.

NMS was founded in 2017 by Alasdair Noble who will continue to lead the rebranded Aurora NMS, as lifting & marine services director.

NMS has extensive experience in supporting windfarm turbine inspections, telecom mast installations and infrastructure projects which require innovative access solutions.

Supported by fresh investment, Aurora NMS will roll out its niche services across the UK, replicating the success achieved in the north of Scotland, and expects to create up to 10 jobs or trainee positions in the next three years.

Aurora’s large Inverness facility, which also hosts the Highlands only Renewable Energy Training Centre, will supplement NMS’s Wick operation as well as enhancing mobilisation times on client operations.

Aurora’s chief executive Doug Duguid, said: “Alasdair Noble has built an excellent business across a number of diverse sectors and NMS’s strong track record in renewables aligns well with our own ambitions of becoming a leading energy services provider.

“Aurora will invest capital in NMS to strengthen its regular and specialist lifting equipment and vehicle assets and provide an infrastructure to introduce its unique offering to a wider client base out with its north west Scotland heartland.

“We will also put resources into recruiting staff and offering trainee opportunities in and around Wick, which as a Scottish business is an important element of our overall growth strategy.

“The strong links NMS enjoys with major wind farm operators and in the infrastructure sector is something that we can support and strengthen, and we believe Aurora’s growing reputation in those areas can, in turn, act as a springboard for continued success.”

Mr Noble, who enjoyed a successful career in the marine industry before focusing on specialist transport and lifting, added: “We are finding that many utility companies, which are an important part of our client base, are more comfortable dealing with larger businesses.

“In becoming part of the Aurora group, we now have that scale and financial and organisational backing which utilities are seeking, and we believe this will take the business to a higher level.

“With investment from Aurora, we can drive forward the business in ways which were simply out of reach previously, and we are excited that we will be able to offer opportunities for the local workforce in Wick not just locally, but internationally, as Aurora NMS grows its market share and geographic reach.”

Doug Duguid and Michael Buchan were co-founders of oil and gas services company EnerMech. Over a 10-year period the two-man start up completed 17 acquisitions, employed 4,000 employees in 23 countries, and grew revenues to £415m and EBITDA to £50m, exiting the business in a £400m+ sale to Carlyle Group in December 2018.

In 2003 Mr Duguid led a management buy-out of PSL Energy Services and over four years grew revenue from £20m to £110m and £17m EBITDA with 1,200 employees, achieving a significant return for institutional shareholders when the business was acquired by Halliburton in 2007.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked as *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.