Lowestoft: Jobs secured as SLP is acquired by Sembcorp Marine

LOWESTOFT-based SLP Engineering has been bought out of administration by Singapore energy giant Sembcorp Marine in a deal which will give the new owner a foothold in Europe.

The deal comes after SLP Engineering’s Dutch-based parent company, Smulders Group, went into administration in April blaming heavy losses on two North Sea wind energy projects.

Sembcorp’s managing director Ho Nee Sin said the �2.5million (4.94m Singapore dollar) deal, which includes both the shares and settlement of the intercompany loans of SLP, will give the company a footprint in the UK.

Mr Sin said: “Sembcorp Marine will now have a footprint in the UK, providing synergistic support and reaching out to its North Sea clientele.”

Andrew Thomson, SLP’s business development manager, said: “We have a very large financial backer. It means that the company is in a much stronger position that is was in the earlier part of the year when we were in administration. This opens up a lot of opportunities for the organisation and locally in terms of employment.”

The company is starting work on a multimillion pound contract for Nexen Petroleum, which was won last year, for a 140-man accommodation module for their Golden Eagle area development.

SLP is currently recruiting and will need more than 300 people for the North Sea project.

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Mr Thomson said that because their parent company was in administration they had been prevented from tendering on a lot of projects in the immediate term, but now they were financially secure they would be able to bid for projects in the longer term from 2013, 2014, 2015.

“We have been very lucky in that we have had support from most fo the majors including Centrica and Nexen,” he said. “They have supported us in the short term and in the longer term so we are continuing to get work from them.”

He said he believed they had the support because of the strong name and because SLP has a long history in the business, with companies like SLP being “few and far between”.

“There is a lot of synergy between the two companies. It made sense for Sembcorp to look at a company in the UK to establish a foothold in Europe. We needed a very strong backer and they needed a foothold in Europe,” he said.

Mr Thomson added that they would be developing the renewables side of SLP, which has been prevented from doing by Smulders Group whic had its own European partners.

“We will be looking at that with a new fervour and enthusiasm,” he said. “There is an awful lot of potential in the UK and Europe as companies are looking to push their windfarms offshore.”