Houston swoop

Aurora Energy Services unveils first overseas deal

Doug Duguid
Doug Duguid: strategic acquisition

A Scottish energy company has made its first international acquisition with the purchase of a US wind turbine blade repair and maintenance specialist.

Aurora Energy Services has bought Houston-based Cotech Group, the fourth and largest acquisition by the Inverness company. Terms were not disclosed.

Cotech was founded by Aberdonian Mike Wallace in 2005 and provides a comprehensive range of rope access and non-rope access inspection, repair, construction and maintenance services, with the majority of its work being in the onshore and offshore wind sector.

Mr Wallace, finance director Mark Wallace, and other senior management, will remain part of the enlarged business and will spearhead Cotech’s growth stateside, while exporting its expertise into European, Asian and Australian renewable energy markets.

Aurora’s goal is to expand on Cotech’s 20-year footprint of providing energy services in Brazil and throughout South America.

A key component of the deal included a significant investment by Australian serial entrepreneur Niall Conlon, who is now a major shareholder of Aurora and will sit on the executive board alongside company founders Doug Duguid and Michael Buchan.

Over the next three years Cotech’s 100-strong workforce is expected to treble to more than 300 staff, and with expansion planned across the burgeoning US onshore wind power sector and on the Eastern seaboard, Aurora predicts the acquisition will boost annual revenues by £30 million and EBITDA by £3.5m over the next three years.

Mr Duguid, Aurora chief executive, said: “This strategic acquisition is important on a number of levels, giving us immediate access to the massive US wind sector, and laying the foundation for rapid expansion in Europe, Australia and Latin America.

“Mike Wallace has established an excellent highly-respected business and Cotech’s standing in the US onshore and offshore wind sector adds a layer of expertise which Aurora can utilise outwith the company’s established markets.

“We will export Cotech’s skills and experience firstly into the UK and Europe, and send key members of our Scottish team to the US to benefit from the latest training and techniques in wind energy inspection and repair services.”

Mr Conlon was instrumental in growing the Australian and US businesses of EnerMech, the oil and gas services firm which Duguid and Buchan developed into a global player before its £400+ million sale to The Carlyle Group in 2018.

Over five years he built up Australian revenues to more than $250 million. A major component of Aurora’s launch and growth strategy included Mr Conlon taking an ownership stake and joining the management team at an appropriate juncture.

Aurora launched in April 2023 with a stated objective of creating a £100 million turnover business within five years by supporting the transition to energy net zero and providing services in the wind, solar, carbon capture & storage, pumped hydro and waste-to-energy sectors.

The Cotech transaction follows the acquisition of three UK companies – Northern Marine Services, R&M Engineering, and Inverness Access Training Services – and the owners of all four businesses are shareholders in Aurora Energy Services.

This latest deal increases the staff employed by Aurora to 275 and the company has forecast first year revenues of £35m.

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