John Lawrie Group more than doubles operating profit

Significant year for Aberdeen-based John Lawrie Group
Significant year for Aberdeen-based John Lawrie Group

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The past year has been a significant one in the life-cycle of John Lawrie Group, the Aberdeen-headquartered metal recycling, decommissioning and steel tubulars business.

November saw the completion of a private equity backed management buy-out.  Four members of John Lawrie Group’s management team, and existing shareholders, – CEO Vic Sinclair, financial director Charlie Parker, operations director Dave Weston, and tubulars director Iain Laing – in partnership with Rubicon Partners, a leading industrial investor, and principal investment firm Grovepoint, bought out the majority shareholder.

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The following month, the firm’s metal recycling division expanded into Shetland with the acquisition of the Rova Head metal recycling facility in Lerwick. This facility reopened in February 2018 after undergoing a major infrastructure upgrade.  The investment has benefitted the local community as it has enabled the reinstatement of a service to uplift all makes of end of life vehicles on the isles.

During this time, the core business continued to go from strength to strength.  Annual results for the year ended 31 December 2017, just filed at Companies House, show a near 50% increase in revenues to £83m, and operating profit more than doubling to £12m.

Contributing to that growth has been John Lawrie Group’s metal recycling division, which incorporates decommissioning services.  In 2017, the division recorded its highest ever annual tonnage of scrap metal throughput, consistently exporting over 10,000 tonnes per month to European steel mills.  Although John Lawrie Group has been active in oil and gas and subsea decommissioning work for a number of years, it has noticed an upturn in work from this sector during the past two years.

Group financial director, Charlie Parker, said: “During 2017 we witnessed an excellent performance across the whole group.  We have been able to focus on our core business and develop an exciting, fully funded growth strategy in partnership with our new investors.

“The acquisition of a new facility in Shetland adds to our existing metal recycling operating bases in Aberdeen, Montrose and Evanton, near Inverness. These allow us to provide our customers across the north of Scotland with an excellent and well established support service for oil and gas decommissioning and other dismantling projects.

“We have also established a mobile project team that has carried out decom work at numerous port facilities right down the UK east coast.  The John Lawrie Decom team is well respected within the oil and gas industry for the practical approach adopted to decom projects.  Our strategy for the metal recycling and decom divisions will see the continued expansion of John Lawrie Group into other parts of the UK, which will enhance our service offering to existing and new clients.”

John Lawrie Group’s tubulars business continues to be a principal supplier to the UK and European foundation piling market, supplying redundant oilfield casing and drill pipe to the construction industry for use as steel piling.  This innovative product reuse is part of the company’s contribution to the Circular Economy, a commitment that was recognised when it won the respective category at the 2017 VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.

In North America, John Lawrie Group’s tubulars division has transformed significantly over the last few years, becoming firmly established as a key supplier of steel tubulars to the foundation piling sector.  Since 2014, the business, which is based in Houston, Texas, has opened storage locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in order to service the huge construction market in the north eastern states more efficiently.

Mr Parker added: “The growth strategy in the US has seen John Lawrie Tubulars enter the Mid-West market in 2018, giving access to the states of Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin amongst others.  The US economy is very buoyant at present resulting in a strong construction sector.  This provides an excellent opportunity for the group to execute expansion plans for the tubulars business in North America.”

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