Suffolk firm geared for growth after being snapped up

OEG boss John Heiton, left, with Jennifer and Clive Cushion of Fern Communications

John Heiton, CEO of OEG Offshore, left, with Jennifer Cushion, managing director, Fern Communications and Clive Cushion, technical director of offshore radio communication firm Fern Communications - Credit: OEG

A Lowestoft-based offshore communications systems maker has been snapped up for an undisclosed sum.

Fern Communications employs 10 people who will remain at the company after it was bought by OEG Offshore, an offshore cargo containers company based in Aberdeenshire.

OEG, which employs 540 staff and had a turnover of £19.6m in 2019, sells and rents offshore cargo carrying units from a worldwide network of bases. 

The acquisition of Fern  fulfils its “vision of a greater global reach across the energy sector through expanding its range of customer-focused innovative product and service offerings”, it said.

Fern Communications, which has a turnover of £0.8m, was founded by Clive and Jennifer Cushion nearly 20 years ago. They design and manufacture communications radio systems for the construction, installation, operations, and maintenance of offshore wind farms including RWE’s Galloper, ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia ONE and Ocean Wind’s Moray East.

The company recently signed a four-year contract with Moray Offshore Wind Farm (East) to support and maintain its Wavecom communications system. Mr Cushion said: “This is exactly the partnership we need to grow. What we do best is be innovative. We are engineers and all about customers giving customers solutions they need.

“Research and development and emerging technology have always been at the heart of what Fern does and we have been very successful and achieved so much in the last nearly 20 years. We have built up a very good reputation for what we do and by joining OEG it will only strengthen it.

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“The energy sector has been our backbone for many years, and it is continuing to grow. This opens different avenues for us to pursue with scope for large growth of our turnover and activity.”

The deal will enable the business to focus on innovating systems for wind farms further offshore supported by the larger business, he said, while continuing to support oil and gas “which can’t be ignored in the energy transition and is a market that still needs servicing,” Mr Cushion said.
OEG's head of renewables Dan Greeves said Fern was renowned and respected name across the energy industry.

“Fern’s ambition and vision fit exactly with ours,” he added. “Being part of our business will open new doors for them on exciting big projects within the support of our framework and processes while giving us the capability to tender for work packages with other specialist businesses in our group that work together.”