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James Fisher Buys Up X-Subsea Assets

James Fisher Buys Up X-Subsea Assets

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12 May 2015

Marine services provider James Fisher and Sons has completed its second deal in the past week, this time buying the assets and intellectual property rights of a Scottish subsea company out of administration for £14.8m.

The Barrow-in-Furness company has moved for X-Subsea Holding, based in Aberdeen. It went into administration on 27 April 2015 following the collapse of its Norwegian parent company Reef Subsea AS.

X-Subsea was a designer and operator of specialised excavation, trenching and dredging equipment, which is rented and operated worldwide for subsea operations in the oil & gas, telecoms and renewable energy sectors.

It was the main competitor of James Fisher Mass Flow Excavation, operating from bases in Aberdeen, Dubai, Singapore, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Nick Henry, chief executive of James Fisher, said: "The transaction strengthens and consolidates our position in subsea services, and will enable James Fisher to become the global leader in mass flow excavation."

X-Subsea's equipment and tools, many of which are patented, are used in challenging environments to prevent damage to pipelines, cables, structures and the environment.

The deal follows hot on the heels of James Fisher's purchase of Mojo Maritime for a fee that could rise to £3.5m.

EC Hambro Rabben & Partners acted as corporate adviser to James Fisher on the X-Subsea purchase.

X-Subsea UK Ltd, along with its UK parent company X-Subsea UK Holding Ltd and fellow UK subsidiary X-Subsea Atlantic Ltd, entered administration on 27 April 2015. The ultimate parent company, Reef Subsea AS, entered Norwegian insolvency proceedings in early February 2015 and the consequent withdrawal of support led to financial constraints.

The company had one live contract at the time the joint administrators were appointed and a skeleton staff of six employees was retained to complete the contract. This has now finished and those staff were repatriated to the UK last week, but due to the financial and trading position of the company they have also since been made redundant.

Iain Fraser and Tom MacLennan, partners of FRP Advisory, were joint administrators of X-Subsea UK Ltd.

Fraser said: "X-Subsea operated in a global marketplace and was well-known for the highly sophisticated dredging and excavation equipment it used as well as its expertise in non-contact excavation. There was international interest in the assets and we are pleased that they will be retained in Aberdeenshire and hopeful that new employment opportunities might arise following the sale."

The overseas subsidiaries of X-Subsea in USA (Houston), Mexico (Ciudad del Carmen) and Singapore are not in administration.