Since 2014/15, the North-east of Scotland has been forced to endure a period of great challenge. Now, as we enter a period of recovery, there is an opportunity for investment and growth throughout the region.
Before the oil price crash, the oil field services industry in the North-east was a focus for mergers and acquisitions activity and many of Scotland’s biggest and best midmarket buyout and M&A deals were transacted. Recent activity suggests that there is reinvigorated interest and ambition to again drive growth. With hard lessons learned, it is imperative that the region capitalises on the wealth of experience and opportunity that exists as we embark on what we all hope is a sustained period of growth.
While the oil field services industry is crucial, it is equally important that investment is encouraged across all sectors. Recent figures show that 22,000 people are employed in the food, drink and agriculture sectors. Almost 25% of Scotland’s primary agricultural output is generated in the North-east, with this number doubling in relation to Scotland’s fish landings. The Life Sciences sector is also hugely important in Aberdeen, with 22% of Scotland’s employment in life sciences R&D being based in the area. Tourism is also a growth sector, with significant natural and cultural assets to be found throughout the region.
In a move that highlights and promotes current activity in the area, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has recently produced an infrastructure tracker which shows that more than £5 billion of public and private infrastructure investment is due to be delivered in the region before 2030. The aim of the tracker is to provide “pride and confidence to the people of Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire” while sending out the message that Aberdeenshire is “open for business”. This is a message that Brodies Aberdeen-based corporate team would very much support.
Recently awarded top tier status by Legal 500, the Brodies Aberdeen-based corporate team brings with it unrivalled experience. The team is at the forefront of corporate activity throughout the region. Over the course of the last few months, the corporate team have acted in several major transactions including: the sale of North Star Shipping to international investment firm Basalt Infrastructure Partners, the acquisition of Scotframe by construction multi-national Saint-Gobain, and the management buyout of John Lawrie Group, backed by Rubicon Partners and Grovepoint.
The North Star Shipping and John Lawrie deals in particular demonstrate a renewed appetite from private equity to back home-grown, North-east based businesses. This will hopefully act as a spur to encourage business owners to engage, seek investment and embark on the next wave of deal activity.
For the recovery in the North-east to be as strong and sustainable as we all hope, the oil field services industry and the diverse opportunities that lie across all sectors must be exploited to their fullest. As Scotland’s largest independent law firm, Brodies is perfectly positioned to support this through the provision of expert, commercially-focused, cross-sector legal advice.