Partners Group, a global private markets firm, has agreed, on behalf of its clients, to buy North Star, a UK-based operator of emergency response and rescue vessels, which has recently also dived into the offshore wind sector with several orders made for essential offshore wind maintenance services vessels, from Basalt Infrastructure Partners for an undisclosed price.
Aberdeen-based North Star has a fleet of 48 Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs) and Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) and around 1,400 employees.
North Star's ERRV fleet is the largest in Europe and provides essential crew rescue, firefighting, and other emergency response services to offshore energy operations in the North Sea. The company is also building SOVs which are used to transport technicians to offshore wind farms and accommodate them for extended periods of time.
North Star last year secured contracts worth around £270 million to deliver three service operation vessels (SOVs) to be used on what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the 3.6GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the UK North Sea.
According to a press statement released on Thursday, Partners Group aims to transform North Star into "a leading pan-European next-generation offshore wind infrastructure services company, which reflects the firm's focus on investing with sustainability factors in mind."
"Partners Group will work with management on a transformational value creation plan that will expand the Company's platform through growing its offshore wind fleet and broadening its offshore wind offering," the press statement reads.
David Daum, Managing Director, Private Infrastructure, Partners Group, said: "North Star represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a leading energy infrastructure services business that is well-positioned to capitalize on the transformative trends driving growth in the offshore wind industry. The company provides mission-critical services and benefits from steady demand due to high barriers to entry and few direct competitors. We have extensive experience in the offshore wind sector and North Star is a great fit for our platform-expansion strategy. We look forward to working with Matthew and the team."
Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, North Star, said: "We have over 50 years of operating experience and maintain a market-leading position for both ERRVs and SOVs. Looking ahead, servicing the offshore wind industry represents a huge growth opportunity for us as the decarbonization of economies gathers pace. Partners Group's operational expertise in that industry will be very valuable as we expand into new offshore wind markets in Europe, which are experiencing similar tailwinds to those in the UK."
Nicholas Pepper, Member of Management, Private Infrastructure, Partners Group, adds: "The provision of mission critical offshore infrastructure services is a subsector within renewables that we have been tracking through our thematic sourcing approach. Demand for SOVs is being driven by the construction of larger wind farms further from shore, which makes daily maintenance trips inefficient. North Star's home market of the UK, the largest offshore wind market globally, is expected to account for a large proportion of future offshore wind capacity, providing the Company with a good springboard for growth internationally."