Only five years old, this young Scottish company will turn over nearly a quarter of a billion pounds this financial year, says founder and chairman Roy MacGregor. Global Energy Group provides contract services to the oil and gas industry as well as to the power generation, petrochemical and renewable sectors. The firm operates around the world, with 25% of its turnover coming from international sales.
MacGregor is no novice entrepreneur, however. Having studied marketing and business management at university, he joined his family’s retail and property company in the late 1970s. The business – one of the first retailers in Britain to introduce computerised tills – was sold to Fine Fare in 1986.
Building on previous experience in supplying food to offshore rigs, MacGregor went on to establish oil-and-gas contractor MacGregor Energy. By 1994 the business was turning over £50m and was bought by 3i for an undisclosed sum.
MacGregor then spent some time as chairman and benefactor of Ross County football club where he played in his youth.
In 2005, when his son Donald, a subsea engineer, was planning to take a job in Perth, Australia, MacGregor’s wife, Morag, encouraged him to start another business to give Donald a job in Scotland.
Global Energy Group now has 2,600 employees, head offices in Aberdeen and Inverness, and operates 12 separate brands making, repairing and inspecting marine rig infrastructure. It specialises in the upgrade, repair and maintenance of mobile drilling rigs, vessels and offshore platforms.
The company also offers pipeline welding, electrical and mechanical services, and resource and supply-chain management. Clients include oil and gas multinationals such as BP, Shell, Centrica and British Gas as well as their contractors such as Transocean.
In 2008 Global Energy bought an 80% stake in Aberdeen-based Reel Group, and it is now consolidating the six Scottish businesses bought in March from the administrators of Sovereign Oilfield Group in what MacGregor describes as a “good deal”. The Highlander says he is renowned for having a conservative attitude to debt, and has funded almost all of Global Energy’s growth by reinvesting profits.
MacGregor says only 35% of the company’s growth is due to acquisition despite its numerous purchases of independent contractors.
Global was in the right place at the right time, he explains. Oil prices grew exponentially from 2007, spurring capital investment in new territories and Global’s customers asked it to provide services for the new oilfields they were developing. Global Energy now has offices in Dubai, Houston, Trinidad, Norway and Ghana and is opening facilities in Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. The company also has joint ventures in Croatia, Cameroon, Namibia and Angola. This has fuelled the spectacular growth in its international sales, which have rocketed 416% a year, from £1m in 2007 to £27.8m in 2009.
What does the future hold for Global Energy?
MacGregor sees less opportunity in the North Sea where the lack of funding has slowed new initiatives, but says demand for oil means the growth in international projects continues to look very strong.
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