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Wed December 01 2021

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Petrofac duo seek to consolidate wind power supply chain

28 Oct There is a new name in the offshore engineering sector – Venterra.

Venterra Group has been set up by Ayman Asfari, former owner and chief executive of Petrofac, to provide engineering, construction and operations services to the offshore wind power industry.

It is on the acquisition trail and aims to consolidate the supply chain.

It has already acquired Dublin-based offshore engineering and design consultancy, Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd (GDG), offshore contractor FoundOcean and equipment fabricator Osbit, the latter two both based in the UK.

The former owners of GSD have been paid €7.7m in cash and €4.7m in shares in Venterra.

Venterra plans to invest around £250m by mid-2022 in capabilities across the windfarm life cycle.  In due course it intends to seek a public listing for its shares.  

The board of directors comprises Ayman Asfari as executive chairman, former Petrofac chief operating officer Rob Jewkes as chief executive and Ivan Ronald, former CFO of GKN Aerospace, ,as chief financial officer. Non-executive directors are Vivienne Cox,  former chief executive of BP’s gas, power and renewable business, and Tove Feld, former head of offshore engineering at Siemens Wind Power.

Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions (GDG) has worked on more than 35GW of offshore wind farm developments around the world, both as designers and owners’ engineers.

Osbit, founded in 2010 in Northumberland, makes bespoke systems for vessel and equipment operators for foundation installation, subsea trenching and cable laying.

FoundOcean was founded in 1966 as a George Wimpey subsidiary. Today it is one of the world’s largest dedicated offshore construction grouting companies. Based in Livingston, Scotland, the company’s primary area of expertise lies in securing structures to the seabed by foundation grouting.

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Further acquisitions are in the pipeline, Venterra said.

“Offshore wind energy is growing fast around the world and is essential to the global energy transition,” said Ayman Asfari. “But there is a supply chain  crunch – the services industry supporting wind is highly fragmented and needs greater scale and additional capital to meet soaring demand from governments and developers with ambitious renewable energy commitments.

“Venterra has been created to help meet this challenge.  We are bringing together companies with the right experience and specialist skills and providing them with funding and support to create a services champion with the scale and breadth required by the market. 

“This will require us to develop talent and adapt existing engineering and technical skills to create a highly specialised global workforce helping deliver the energy transition.

“We aim to create a new force in the offshore wind industry which will be a world class industrial company." 

Jim Bell, managing director of FoundOcean, said: “Venterra absolutely shares our vision at FoundOcean, helping the world’s energy transition through wind power. This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved and we very much look forward to working with the other member companies. Together, we will have a strong presence in the renewables sector with our excellent services offering.

“Venterra’s aim of building a global offshore renewables group of complementary and like-minded businesses fits perfectly with the vision of our FoundOcean leadership team. We are all very excited about the support Venterra will provide in enabling FoundOcean to grow further and achieve more than we could by ourselves.

“This partnership of businesses working together will create jobs in our local communities, many of these requiring high levels of professional skill, and enable us to build a robust supply chain in renewable energy. Equally, it will allow us to offer an extremely comprehensive range of services to our clients.”

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