A top engineering company in the North East has been acquired to help found a new group looking to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the wind power sector.
The deal for Sheffield company Venterra to buy Northumberland-based offshore engineering company Osbit will see jobs created at the firm’s Riding Mill and Blyth sites.
Osbit, which employs more than 120 people after major growth in recent years, says its acquisition will lead to an “accelerated growth campaign to significantly expand its workforce in North East England, with a range of highly skilled positions.”
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It is one of three firms to have been bought by Venterra Group, which has been formed by former Petrofac International chief executive Ayman Asfari with a mission to invest £250m in the offshore windfarm life-cycle by the middle of next year.
The deal comes at a time of huge opportunities in the wind sector, with renewables expected to provide 90% of the growth in global electricity demand by 2030 and global offshore wind capacity set to increase seven-fold.
Osbit, which has been a major player in the offshore and renewables sector since it was founded in 2010, will benefit from greater investment capability and a wider range of expertise, it said.
Osbit joint managing director Brendon Hayward said: “We are thrilled to be joining Venterra Group, a hugely promising new enterprise which is fully aligned with Osbit’s vision of enabling energy transition. This partnership has been many months in the making and is a great fit for Osbit; Venterra understands and appreciates our business and its culture and is fully equipped to take Osbit to the next level.
“We’re now working to expand our team, and we are very hopeful that, in due course, this hugely exciting development will also encourage expansion within our core suppliers, the vast majority of whom are also North East England based.”
Fellow joint managing director Robbie Blakeman said: “Our team is very excited to enter a next chapter as part of Venterra. This opportunity will strengthen our business and our team, as well as supercharging our ability to develop highly innovative technology to enable energy transition.
“In turn, this enables us to grow and increase our service offering across the global wind projects we are already active on in the North Sea, but also planned developments in the US and Asia.”
Osbit – whose name comes from its mission to be on spec, budget and in time – was co-founded by Tony Trapp, who had already formed and sold North East firms Soil Machine Dynamics and The Engineering Company.
It has been bought along with firms in Ireland and Scotland by the Venterra Group, a new firm aiming to capitalise on opportunities in the wind sector. Venterra says it intends to make more acquisitions in the coming months before listing next year.
Ayman Asfari, Venterra executive chairman said: “Offshore wind energy is growing fast around the world and is essential to the global energy transition. But there is a supply chain crunch – the services industry supporting wind is highly fragmented and needs greater scale and additional capital to meet soaring demand from governments and developers with ambitious renewable energy commitments.
“Venterra has been created to help meet this challenge. We are bringing together companies with the right experience and specialist skills and providing them with funding and support to create a services champion with the scale and breadth required by the market.
“This will require us to develop talent and adapt existing engineering and technical skills to create a highly specialised global workforce helping deliver the energy transition. We aim to create a new force in the offshore wind industry which will be a world class industrial company.”
Following the deal, Osbit said it had already initiated a large-scale recruitment campaign and was looking to “significantly expand” its engineering and project support teams in response to the growth in offshore wind both locally in the North East and overseas.