Cheers to the spirit of collaboration
Amultimillion-pound deal agreed by two of the north-east’s best known entrepreneurs highlights traditional strength and newly-acquired vulnerability in today’s oil and gas industry.
Balmoral Group’s Jim Milne has invested £10million in Alfie Cheyne’s Ace Winches in a mutually-beneficial arrangement which potentially opens new markets globally.
In return, Mr Milne and his financial director will occupy key places on the Ace board. Balmoral’s financial muscle and group stability offers a lifeline to Ace after a turbulent period for the company, which has lost jobs.
There are compelling reasons for the tie-up given the synergy between the companies, but there are 650 other good reasons – that is the number of jobs which depend on the future decisions of both men.
The oil and gas supply chain is just as vulnerable to the downturn as the major North Sea players in exploration and production.
Ace is a perfect example: orders for manufactured deck and lifting gear have shrunk along with the market forcing the firm into a rough patch, yet its expertise and worldwide respect for its products is too important to lose. Balmoral’s massive cash injection and pooled resources means it should ride out the storm and evolve in readiness for a strong comeback as the market improves.
Both companies have deep reservoirs of talent in the north-east, but are global brands with tremendous worldwide potential to exploit. The same can be said of the offshore sector in general over the next 30 years.
“Highlights traditional strength and newlyacquired vulnerability in oil and gas industry”