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Costain acquires Aberdeen oil and gas engineering consultancy

Costain has announced to purchase a majority stake in Aberdeen-based engineering consultants ClerkMaxwell in a deal that could rise to £3.2 million.

Costain has initially agreed to purchase 75 per cent of the firm who are a front-end engineering and operations support services provider operating in the upstream oil and gas sector.

The remaining 25 per cent of the company may be purchased by Costain between 26 April and 31 May of this year under a call option as part of the deal.

The deal is Costain’s first acquisition for more than 20 years after a potential bid for Mouchel fell through earlier this year.

Costain’s corporate development director, Alex Vaughan said: “We’re currently working on a number of opportunities. ClerkMaxwell is very much the first of a number of acquisitions we see ourselves completing.

“At present we have a strong oil and gas business that’s focused on predominantly onshore capabilities. What we didn’t have was a capability for providing design solutions for getting oil and gas out of the ground. This new business gives us that capability so we are now able to offer customers a complete solution.”

Mr Vaughan added that although overall production is now in decline, rocketing oil prices mean that previously marginal fields are now viable, and existing facilities require ongoing maintenance.

At 31 December 2010, ClerkMaxwell had gross assets of £1.1 million and is being acquired by Costain on a debt and cash free basis.

ClerkMaxwell’s senior management team and 50-strong workforce will remain with the business and will be integrated into the Costain group’s Energy & Process division.

Meanwhile Mr Vaughan has taken on the responsibilities of departing group strategy and business development director, Stephen Wells, as well as overall responsibility for the Alcaidesa and Zimbabwe property businesses.

The role is one of a number to have been filled by Costain, including the appointment of Ross Agnew as strategic management director, responsible for the development and implementation of strategy, while Alex Goude becomes development and marketing director.

The changes have also seen Catherine Warbrick promoted to corporate responsibility director.

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