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Financial package floats Cardiff ship operator

A Cardiff-based company launched earlier this year to provide sea-born transfers to wind farms in the North Sea has secured a £90,000 financial package from Finance Wales and UK Steel Enterprise.

The deal has enabled Severn Offshore Services to conclude its purchase of its first state-of-the-art transfer vessel from the Damen shipyard in Gorinchem, Holland.

The new 26 metre vessel, Severn Provider, registered in Cardiff, has immediately started transporting equipment and personnel to and from the Meerwind Offshore Wind Farm in the German sector of the North Sea. It won the on-going contract against international competition.

Said company managing director Ryan Hopkins, who lives in Penarth: “Severn Offshore Services was specifically established to respond to the needs of the burgeoning offshore energy industry. The Severn Provider is a high-spec vessel that can transfer up to 12 personnel at operating speeds of up to 25 knots.

“With this vessel we are able to compete internationally, offering a superior service both in efficiency and safety. We can operate 24 hours a day with decreased downtime and up to 150 miles offshore, meaning we can reach some of the larger marine installations – where some of the competition cannot go.

“The backing we received  from both Finance Wales and UK Steel Enterprise has been vital in securing not only the new vessel, but enabling Severn Offshore Services to win such a prestigious contract, no sooner than the boat was christened and launched.”

Finance Wales led the investment, providing a £60,000 loan from the Wales SME Investment Fund with Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise advancing £30,000 under the Government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme. Broomfield & Alexander advised the company on its business and financial plans and introduced the financial backers with Greenaway Scott advising and handling on all legal issues.

Said Joanne O’Keeffe, Finance Wales Investment Executive who led negotiations: “Ryan Hopkins is an experienced mariner who has an impressive understanding of the offshore energy market.  He is committed to the business, has a clear vision and growth strategy. Finance Wales is  pleased to provide Severn Offshore Services with the working capital it needs and allow the company to pursue its ambitious growth plans.”

Glyn Thomas Investment Executive with UK Steel Enterprise added: ”We are delighted to support Severn Offshore Services, and to be able to help them take advantage of opportunities in this developing market.”

Ryan Hopkins said: “The professional guidance from Seamus Gates at Broomfield & Alexander and Laura Herdman at Greenaway Scott enabled us to put together a robust business plan which not only secured the working capital needed, but ensured that we were in a strong position to negotiate a financially lucrative contract the moment the vessel was operational.

“Joanne O’Keeffe at Finance Wales and Glyn Thomas at UK Steel Enterprise were quick to recognise the potential of Severn Offshore services and pulled out all the stops to conclude the deal very quickly.”