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Scottish oil services firm wins investor backing amid renewable energy drive

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Scottish oil services firm wins investor backing amid renewable energy drive

Glacier plans to establish a technician training academy in Glasgow. The company is eyeing sites in Scotland on which it could develop additional manufacturing capacity.

BGF has invested in Glacier months after London-based Averroes Capital acquired a controlling stake in the business.

The moves by the investment firms provide a clear sign they believe Glacier has attractive growth prospects.

They come following a period in which Glacier has diversified from its roots in the oil services business into supporting renewable energy industry activity in a way that could provide a model for other firms.

The question of how Scotland can achieve a ‘just’ transition from an oil and gas-dependent economy to one based on low carbon energy sources was prominent in the general election campaign.

READ MORE: SNP manifesto Just Transition claim is absurd

BGF said Glacier’s core capabilities are well suited to the energy transition. Glacier’s capabilities include the design and manufacture of heat transfer equipment and pressure vessels, machining, welding, repairs and maintenance and testing.

Glacier has been providing inspection services for the wind industry for some time.

BGF claimed the company has been instrumental in advancing hydrogen, carbon capture, and energy storage technologies.

The latest accounts for Glacier group show it has achieved strong growth on the back of continued success in oil and gas markets and the progress it has made in the low carbon energy sector.

Glacier Energy Services Holdings grew turnover by around 40%, to £27.8 million, in the year to March 31 2023, from £20.4m in the preceding period.

“Activity levels in [the group’s] established market has increased considerably over the last year and looks set to continue for the foreseeable future while there is significant positive momentum in the Renewable Energy Markets creating substantial new opportunities for the group,” the accounts note.

They indicate that Glacier benefitted from the recovery in the subsea oil and gas market and increased well decommissioning activity.

READ MORE: Fate of Aberdeen engineering giant uncertain as takeover talks extended

BGF said it decided to take a minority stake in Glacier after following its growth and expansion into the broader renewables market for a number of years.

The investment firm’s Richard Pugh said BGF was excited by the scale of ambition shown by Glacier, which had achieved success in a diverse set of high-growth markets.

Former ScottishPower chief executive Nick Horler has been recruited to oversee Glacier’s push for continued growth as non-executive chairman of the company. Mr Horler led ScottishPower from June 2008 to October 2010. He has also served on the boards of Thames Water and Royal Mail.

Glacier has 220 employees and 20 contractors working for the business. It has bases in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Methil and Rotherham.

The new academy will train around 20 technicians annually and boost the skills of existing employees.

BGF and Averroes expect Glacier to make further acquisitions after completing 11 since 2011.

READ MORE: Scottish turbine plant delay highlights energy jobs challenge

Averroes acquired a controlling stake in Glacier in December from a group of shareholders that included Maven Capital.

Glasgow-based Maven invested in Glacier in 2011.

Averroes Capital partner Simon Rowan said: “We are delighted to bring BGF on board as a co-investor and believe this will significantly enhance the undoubted growth prospects of Glacier Energy. The business has made large strides forward following our recent investment, and we look forward to seeing this positive momentum continuing.”

Averroes says it invests £15m to £40m in high quality, growing businesses that operate in specialised markets.

BGF was founded in 2011 as the Business Growth Fund with support from major banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland owner Lloyds Banking Group.

BGF has completed four investments in Scotland to date in 2024. These include an £8m investment in EV charging specialist Trojan Energy.

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