Energy service company Flexlife is reaping the rewards of a greater focus on overseas work as it emerges from the dark days of the oil and gas industry downturn.
Chief executive Garry Millard said business in the UK North Sea now accounted for only about 10% of the Aberdeen company’s annual revenue.
The 90% of turnover generated abroad marks a big shift from just four years ago, when the firm’s export business made up less than 40% of the total.
Flexlife, launched in 2007, operates in the niche market of flexible risers and flowlines.
Its patented technology can be used to monitor – and subsequently extend – the life of subsea flexibles on oil and gas fields.
The company has won contracts worth about £1.2 million since the start of this year, while the total since the company’s acquisition by Seanamic Group last autumn comes in at around £2m.
Mr Millard said new work had come in from far and wide, including the Gulf of Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand and Angola.
He added: “The North Sea pretty much shut down and the UK market is still very slow.
“Since I came into this business in 2014 and then through 2015-16 we have been actvely looking for partners or agents in key parts of the world where they use flexible pipelines and risers.”
Glasgow-based Seanamic, which is backed by the Piper Jaffray-managed Simmons Private Equity II fund, acquired Flexlife’s trading businesses in the UK and US last October.
The deal gave Flexlife customers access to a much broader range of services than before.
Mr Millard said the firm was better able to meet the needs of clients looking for “integrated management around pipeline risk”, thanks to it becoming part of a larger group.
“It’s turned out to be a really good move for the business as we have great synergies across the group,” he said, adding: “There is scope for it all to grow.”
As well as the highlighting the recent contract wins, Flexlife’s CEO pointed to a further £5m-worth of work in the pipeline.
“We are looking for £4m turnover this year, he said, adding: “The focus is on very much keeping everybody busy.”
Flexlife currently employs 16 people, while turnover during its last full accounting period, which was for nine months, totalled £2.9m.