In 1973 Sparrows became the first contractor to send specialist crane operators to work in Britain’s North Sea oil industry. Today the group does business worldwide, and won £32m of offshore crane-maintenance contracts from companies such as Total and Shell in just three months this year. Close Brothers backed a £142m buyout in 2008 and the Aberdeen firm used the cash to continue a series of acquisitions that has trebled its turnover in seven years. Under chief executive Doug Sedge, sales reached £165.7m in 2009.
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