All Eyes on Consolidation
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
Leveraging its existing expertise in marine engineering to diversify during the current oil & gas downturn, UK-based MAATS Tech Ltd has been working closely with customers to strengthen its service offering as part of a wider consolidation strategy.
Having developed into a major player in the offshore engineering and marine design industries over the past 27 years, MAATS now offers a range of refined turnkey specialisms; including ship design and build, through to installation and commissioning of bespoke equipment for handling, storage and offloading of flexible pipe systems, as well as a host of new value-add services.
The Company’s Founder and Managing Director, John Holt introduces: “All companies operating within the oil & gas market are closely monitoring developments in order to adjust their business strategy accordingly; and MAATS Tech is no different. With the US currently not importing and Iran about to begin exporting its oil, no one has the answer yet to the surplus challenge, and a vote of confidence may be a little while coming. It is with this in mind that we have shifted our focus and gained a foothold in the cable-laying business for energy companies, while also remaining open to exploring alternative engineering-based markets where our fully-qualified teams can transfer their knowledge of flexible pipe handling over to cable handling.”
This strategic move has coincided with an internal restructure of the organisation, with the aim of boosting the team’s commercial awareness in order to improve how business enquiries are handled by the business; ultimately boosting sales in these new revenue streams.
Having developed close relationships with a number of world-renowned shipyards and offshore contractors over the years, MAATS is now able to utilise this network of business contacts to boost market exposure and reach new customers. Holt details some of the resultant projects of this methodology: “Following a successful project with AKER Solutions for cable lay vessel, AKER Connector – now known as Lewek Connector – we have secured equipment packages for two large cable lay vessels in Spain and Norway.
“In the short-term, MAATS Tech will focus on completing and delivering the equipment for these newbuild cable vessels. The Living Stone vessel in Spain is currently being constructed in La Naval shipyard for DEME, and we have been contracted to Kleven shipyard in Norway for a large state-of-the-art vessel for ABB. The vessels are expected to be commissioned in mid-2017.”
He adds: “As the world leader in the supply of carousels for installation below-deck, the design and build of flexible pipe-lay equipment continues to be a core focus at MAATS. Notable projects in the past four years include providing equipment for 11 new vessels – the final group of which are due to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2016 – for SapuraKencana, Subsea 7 and Technip-Odebrecht, to replace Petrobras’ aging fleet operating off the coast of Brazil; fitted with our industry-leading carousel systems, as well as tensioner systems,” says Holt. “In 2013, we were also awarded a contract to design and manufacture a 7,000 tonne under-deck carousel for the South Korean shipyard, Hyundai Heavy Industries, for installation on a vessel to be operated by Subsea 7.”
These projects were awarded to MAATS due to the long-term relationships built up since the late 1980s and the previous provision of reliable equipment, making MAATS a preferred supplier for this type of equipment.
Achieving this preferred status has been pivotal to the Company’s international success and further exemplifies MAATS Tech’s commitment to finding the right equipment solution for each customer. While based in the UK, the Company has been fortunate enough to have supplied and installed equipment across South Korea, Brazil, Norway and the Middle East – thanks to a comprehensive supply chain that is continually reviewed – with the hope to continue adding more locations to its global business portfolio.
Central to this vision has been extending its continuous improvement goals into research and development (R&D) to review, test and keep up to speed with new technologies. “One of our achievements in this regard has been developing track plates and rollers for our carousel systems. Elsewhere, we currently have some new products under patent review aimed at the cable and flex pipe industry,” details Holt.
Utilising the Company’s experienced Finite Element modelling team to support these major projects – while working closely with other disciplines to verify and develop new designs – the MAATS team is able to take an idea from concept to design and manufacture.
“The Finite Element Analysis is not just for marine but also for the aerospace, medical, civil and composites industries which could present outward expansion opportunities for us to explore when the time is right,” Holt adds. “Ultimately, though, we need to listen to our customers and work with them to design and improve our equipment in order for them to complete their work in a reliable, safe and efficient manner.”
With a three-year plan to consolidate and strengthen its core technical abilities, and market this to energy businesses via a restructure of its business activities, MAATS Tech is gearing-up to weather the oil & gas slump by offering its expertise to other engineering-dependent disciplines. “While growth will be flatter in the short-term, we are confident that our diversification into other industrial applications will bolster the longevity of the business,” predicts Holt. “In a similar vein, we will also look for possible acquisitions and partnership opportunities to further improve our in-house capabilities throughout the next three years to solidify our reputation for world-class engineering.”