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Easter Ross welding specialist looks to forge fresh opportunities

By Hector MacKenzie

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A ROSS-SHIRE welding company predicts it will reap the benefits of the recovery in the oil and gas sector after cutting its losses by more than £1 million last year.

Evanton-based Serimax - which provides welding services in the construction of pipelines for the oil and gas industry - also experienced a rise in turnover in the year ended December 31, 2018.

A strategic report accompanying the firm’s latest accounts stated: “2018 was a difficult year for the company, as had been forecast in last year’s strategic report, with a loss being recorded for the year.

“Company revenue remained broadly in line with 2017’s and was predominantly Spoolbase work with Norway being particularly busy, which was a positive in the year.

“Another positive in 2018 was the commencement of a significant fabrication job in Cyprus, which led to opening an administrative branch in Cyprus.

“A focus on cost management, particularly on overheads, helped to reduce losses in the year and has helped to establish a cost consciousness within the wider business.”

The firm recorded a pre-tax loss of £2,812,637 in 2018, down from a pre-tax loss of £4,273,809 for the previous year.

For the same period, turnover increased from £16,258,904 to £18,648,469.

The report added: “The next 12 months will see improvements for the company as we reap the benefits of the recovery of the oil and gas sector.

“There is a healthy order book for the Spoolbase in Evanton and Norway, with margin delivery positive. The headcount will increase as a result of the increased order book, and a small increase in overheads to support the increased revenue is expected, though this will be managed in line with the cost consciousness embedded in the business in prior years.

“Longer term our focus is on Spoolbase-related activity, both in the UK and Norway, exploring and securing new opportunities in fabrication, building on the 2018 contract, and seeking to diversify into nuclear and other industries when appropriate opportunities arise.

“Our strategic partnership with TechnipFMC continues to develop. We expect to reap some of the more tangible benefits of this relationship in the coming years.”

The average number of employees increased from 144 in 2017 to 152 last year, while staff costs increased from £9,596,367 to £10,418,402.

Charitable donations also increased from £1136 to £3400.

The firm is part of Vallourec SA in France and has kept an eye on matters related to the UK leaving the EU.

The Serimax strategic report stated: “As with most other companies, we continue to monitor the ongoing Brexit activity and its likely impact on our domestic and our overseas activities. At this stage it is uncertain what impact, if any, Brexit may have on the business.”

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