County Durham-based DeepOcean emerge from stormy waters to return to profit

Subsea specialists Deep Ocean are back in the black with profits topping £9m after a transformational year

Darlington subsea specialist DeepOcean UK has teamed up with 3D visualisation company, ADUS, to widen its offering in offshore wind
Darlington subsea specialist DeepOcean UK has teamed up with 3D visualisation company, ADUS, to widen its offering in offshore wind

Offshore specialist DeepOcean UK is riding high after a transformational year saw it return to profit and boost turnover by 53% to £131.8m.

The Darlington-based company – part of the Norway-headquartered DeepOcean Group – provides services and technologies to the offshore oil and gas, telecommunications, renewables, power and defence markets.

The firm, which operates the world’s largest fleet of specialised marine trenching equipment, suffered huge losses of £49m in 2011, prompting the firm to focus on diversifying globally to trigger a turnaround in performance.

Having weathered the storm, the business has now posted a £45.5m lift in turnover for the year ended December 31 2013 – a rise of 53% on the previous 12 months – while operating profits stood at £9.4m, a significant change in fortunes from 2012’s operating loss of £2.7m.

In the last accounts the firm posted a pre-tax loss of £102,000, but the latest report filed at Companies House show a pre-tax profit of £9.3m.

Tony Inglis, managing director of DeepOcean
Tony Inglis, managing director of DeepOcean
 

Last year the firm completed major offshore contracts in China, Middle East, Germany, West Africa and the North Sea.

A breakdown in turnover showed 70% of sales – £93.2m – came from European work in 2013, a significant increase on the £47.2m in European revenues accrued in 2012.

The company, which underwent a name change from CTC Marine Projects in May 2011, also increased its workforce at Coniscliffe Road, Darlington, and South Bank, Middlesbrough, by 23%, from an average of 114 in 2012 to 140.

A report accompanying the accounts by managing director Tony Inglis, on behalf of the directors, said 2013 represents the second stage of performance turnaround, with a focus on further strengthening the balance sheet and improving operational results.

“This will provide a platform for controlled growth in the future,” he said. The report also said the firm’s success is dependent on continued investment in people and technology and, as a result, a capital programme is being accelerated, including upgrading the firm’s vessels and assets which are being improved with new and refurbished vessels and equipment designed to operate in severe weather conditions.

Inglis said: “One of our core objectives is to attract and retain an experienced and committed workforce.

“We have increased our headcount to 140 people over the prior year and have continued to strengthen into 2014.

“We have accelerated our capital investment programmes to deliver market leading technology from an improved vessel fleet.”

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