GMS float to fund wind vessels

Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Marine Services (GMS) intends to float new shares on the London Stock Exchange, in part to fund new vessels which will target installation and maintenance work in the European offshore wind sector.

GMS’s largest role in the industry to date was the turbine installation work its jack-up vessel Endeavour performed for Statoil and Statkraft’s 317MW Sheringham Shoal project during 2011-2012.

Endeavour is one of GMS’s two “E-class” jack-up barges – the largest models in its fleet of seven wholly-owned vessels, and the most relevant to offshore wind – with a third under construction and expected to enter operation later this year, and a fourth in 2016.

Endeavour and her sister ship the Endurance have 230-tonne cranes and can operate in water depths up to 65 metres, while GMS’s new E-class vessel – the Enterprise – will have a 400-tonne crane and be capable of installing turbines in depths of 80 metres.

Offshore wind remains a relatively niche area for GMS, whose core focus is offshore oil and gas. But the company cites the growing offshore wind market as one of the reasons for its initial public offering, with much of the money raised to be ploughed into new vessels.

Mike Straughen, a former member of the UK’s Offshore Cost Reduction Task Force, is listed as a non-executive director of GMS.

The IPO is expected to be worth at least $250m, including $100m of new shares and an as-yet-undetermined number of shares to be sold by the company’s private-equity backers, according to Reuters.

All told, the flotation is expected to value the company – which also owns a shipyard in Dubai – at a minimum of $1bn.

Gulf Capital, an Abu Dhabi-based private-equity firm, owns 79% of GMS at present.