Ellon-based subsea firm’s high growth potential

Original Article: Energy Voice

A baby subsea company is making waves in the market having completed just over 100 projects since its launch in July 2012.

Ellon-based SengS – Subsea Engineering Solutions Ltd – is the brainchild of 32-year-old Murray Kerr who has high ambitions to nearly triple the company’s turnover in its second year in business.

First year turnover was £1.3million with pre-tax profits of £500,000, and Kerr tells Energy he predicts second year turnover of up to £3million.

Work is currently under way on a new £2million manufacturing and test facility in Ellon, due to be operational by early spring this year.

This has been supported by a £220,000 regional selective assistance grant from Scottish Enterprise, as the business has been classed as having “high growth potential”.

Kerr, a former Royal Navy engineer with experience working for Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants and Technip, has a team of 12 at SengS with plans to recruit at least 20 more staff in the next 18 months.

This includes technicians for the warehouse – both mechanical and electrical – and support services staff, project managers and structural, mechanical and electrical engineers.

Kerr describes SengS as a turnkey company offering everything from engineering design, consultancy, test and assembly to IRM project support.

“We have done over 100 projects and 75% of that was done in a six-month period,” he tells Energy.

“The company is very flexible and the guys work their own hours and they manage themselves. What we find is that the guys are happy to work at home – we have offered them the flexibility in their working environment.”

In the future, Kerr says he hopes to open up the business to employee ownership.

“People are key to our business. If it wasn’t for my current team at the moment, there is no way in hell I would have actually done what I have done,” he says.

Key clients at the moment include Bibby, ConocoPhillips and Centrica.

“Our biggest contract so far was worth just under £400,000 for the last IRM with Bibby,” says Kerr. “Most of our work is consultancy but once we move into the warehouse, we will become a service company and we will be looking to do testing and servicing.”

He says the business is in the final phase of building up a tool rental pool, with a new tooling rental division set to open in the summer, providing mainly topside deck equipment and subsea tooling.

Going forward, Kerr says he will be looking for external investors at the end of this year as part of ambitious plans to further extend the workshop facilities offered by the firm.