Ashtead Technology Chief Executive, Allan Pirie with Founder and Chairman of ACE Winches, Alfie Cheyne; Source: Ashtead Technology

UK subsea firm broadens its horizons with acquisition of compatriot player

UK-headquartered subsea equipment rental and solutions provider Ashtead Technology is augmenting its global offering by acquiring the entire share capital of Rathmay Limited, the parent company of ACE Winches, from its founders Alfie and Valerie Cheyne, for a total cash consideration of £53.5 million (almost $67.7 million) on a cash and debt free basis.

Ashtead Technology Chief Executive, Allan Pirie with Founder and Chairman of ACE Winches, Alfie Cheyne; Source: Ashtead Technology

According to Ashtead Technology, the acquisition will be funded by drawing on its revolving credit facility and is expected to be “materially earnings-enhancing” in full-year 2024 and beyond, with ROIC materially ahead of the company’s weighted average cost of capital in year one.

ACE Winches, which was established in 1992 in the UK, is engaged in the design, assembly, and rental of lifting, pulling, and deployment solutions while its core offering supports the installation, inspection, maintenance and repair, and decommissioning of offshore energy infrastructure, which is perceived to be complementary to Ashtead Technology’s existing equipment and services portfolio.

Furthermore, ACE Winches has built up a reputation amongst its traditional oil and gas customers and has more recently expanded into the offshore renewables market. With nearly 80% of the firm’s revenue generated outside of the UK, supported by operations in Norway and sales offices in the UAE and the U.S., Ashtead Technology is convinced that the acquisition presents “a significant opportunity” for further expansion of its global offering across its existing international footprint. 

ACE Winches is Ashtead Technology’s eighth acquisition in the last six years and follows the company’s acquisitions of WeSubsea and Hiretech, in 2022. The new acquisition will form part of the UK player’s enlarged mechanical solutions offering. Gary Wilson, current Chief Commercial Officer at ACE Winches, is expected to run the day-to-day operations reporting to Ashtead Technology management with founder, Alfie Cheyne, remaining with the business as an advisor for 12 months to provide strategic and commercial input through a handover and integration period.

Commenting on the acquisition of ACE Winches, Allan Pirie, Ashtead Technology’s CEO, highlighted: “While the business predominantly serves the oil and gas industry, we see a significant opportunity to redeploy the asset base in offshore renewable markets as well as further internationalizing our business. The transaction serves to reinforce our strategy of expanding our fungible fleet and range of offshore services solutions to meaningfully enhance our customer offering, and in turn grow further market share.” 

Ashtead Technology won several new deals this year. A few months ago, the company signed an exclusive rental agreement with France-based i2S, specialists in underwater robotics and imaging solutions. Prior to this, the UK player entered into a multi-year rental agreement with Maritime Robotics, a Norwegian provider of unmanned technology solutions.