Why US Acquired Scottish Technology Firm

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

The main reason why the Scottish technology firm, Petrotechnics, is currently under US ownership following its sale by shareholders including Chief Executive Phil Murray and the Business Growth Fund (BGF) has been revealed.

Sphera is the largest global provider of integrated risk management software and information services with a focus on operational risk, environmental health and safety and product stewardship. Similarly, Petrotechnics is a leading global provider of operational risk software for hazardous industries.

The Aberdeen-based company was acquired by Chicago-based risk management software and information services company, Sphera.

Petrotechnics employs around 80 people with a turned over of £7.1 million during the 12 months to March 31 2018. This was up from £6.5million the year before. Pre-tax losses at the firm narrowed to £3.6 million – from £6.9 million – as it emerged stronger from a downturn in core market oil and gas.

Murray owned about 55 percent of the business and BGF around 35 percent.

Sphera President and Chief Executive Paul Marushka said the US group had faced a choice of either buying in or building the type of products and services Petrotechnics is renowned for globally, adding, ‘’we’d been watching Petrotechnics and what it was doing for about two and a half years, and concluded that it was best to buy.

‘’Petrotechnics had superior technology, a strong management team and an impressive customer base. Taking the software solutions they have developed and coupling these with our own was the perfect combination.’’

In recent years it has diversified into new markets such as rail.

Murray, who is staying on for the time being to help with the transition, said the company’s acquisition by Sphera will help it continue on this pathm while Marushka said the group is considering roles for ‘’various individuals” at the Aberdeen firm, while the Petrotechnics name had “market value’’ and would stay.

Petrotechnics which is based in Aberdeen, Scotland, was established in 1989. It has helped keep people safe in hazardous industries including oil and gas.

Those who know better say Petrotechnics’ solutions help companies visualise and connect their operations, maintenance and planning processes with frontline risk mitigation software that provides ‘Safe System to Work’ and ‘Electronic Permit to Work’ functionality. The company’s software solutions are known for their data visualisation, configurable workflows, easy-to-use interface and real-time analysis and insights. With decades of collective experience, Petrotechnics also offers professional services from its expert thought leaders.

‘’Sphera’s acquisition of Petrotechnics expands our base of operational risk solutions through applications digitising and visualising risks at the operational level with real-time data from industrial internet of things devices’’, Marushka said, pointing out, ‘’this acquisition builds upon our SpheraCloud product in extending our integrated risk management solution from risk identification to risk mitigation.’’

For Murray, ‘’Petrotechnics’ decision to become a part of the Sphera suite of products and services was an easy one. The combination of our software with Sphera’s solutions, will help both our customers and Sphera’s clients enhance their ability to mitigate risks across their global operations.’’

Terms of the deal were however, not disclosed.


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