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Sat October 19 2019

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Pipeline protection businesses come together

10 Oct A Lowestoft man who founded a pipeline protection business 20 years ago has today sold it for £6.5m.

Pipeshield makes subsea structures to protect pipelines and cables
Pipeshield makes subsea structures to protect pipelines and cables

Steve Howlett set up Pipeshield in 1999 and grew it into one of the world's leading providers of specialised subsea pipeline protection systems to oil and gas majors and offshore contractors.

Pipeshield’s subsea concrete mattresses pipelines and power cables where they cannot be buried, restricting the impact of localised scour. The business is headquartered in Lowestoft and has manufacturing operations in Blyth, Aberdeen, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

In 2018 it made a pre-tax profit of £800,000 on revenue of £6.6m.

Steve Howlett has now sold up, with Tekmar buying the business, handing him £5.75m in cash and £750,000-worth of Tekmar shares.

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Mr Howlett, who turned 60 this year, has undertaken to remain as managing director of Pipeshield for at least a year and not to compete within six months of departure.

Tekmar also makes subsea protection systems. Chief executive James Ritchie said: “Pipeshield is a perfect fit for Tekmar. Its products are complementary, allowing us to upsell and expand our offering to clients, realising our group vision. The business has many similarities with Tekmar from both end customers to markets but also most importantly it fits culturally. The business focuses on technology, as its key differentiator, and Pipeshield has outstanding credentials, which demonstrate its commitment to safety, quality and, above all, its people; these are key values which we embrace across all group companies. I am truly excited by the prospect of adding the Pipeshield offering to Tekmar's portfolio and I welcome Steve and his team to the family."

Steven Howlett said: "Tekmar and Pipeshield have many similarities. We are industry-leading technology providers within subsea protection and share a similar history and culture. I am keen to see the business progress and believe that being part of Tekmar will accelerate the achievement of our long-held growth aspirations.  I want to thank the Pipeshield team for all its hard work, getting us to this point, and highlight, to my staff and customers, that this change in ownership will only increase the opportunities for the business and our passion for delivering outstanding technical solutions. Other than that, it's very much business as usual."

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