Swiss firm Partners Group buy Aberdeen’s North Star

Swiss private markets firm Partners Group has agreed to acquire Aberdeen-based North Star, the operator of specialized vessels for emergency response and essential offshore wind maintenance, from Basalt Infrastructure Partners.

North Star has a fleet of 48 emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRVs) and service operation vessels (SOVs) and around 1,400 employees.

“North Star’s ERRV fleet is the largest in Europe and provides essential crew rescue, firefighting, and other emergency response services to offshore energy operations in the North Sea,” said Partners Group.

“The company is also the leading UK provider of SOVs which are used to transport technicians to offshore windfarms and accommodate them for extended periods of time.

“North Star has strong infrastructure characteristics with an asset-heavy business model and predictable cash flows, supported by the mandatory usage of ERRVs and long-term contracts in the offshore wind sector.

“The company is set to benefit from rising demand for SOVs due to structural growth in the offshore wind industry, which is being driven by global decarbonization trends.”

Partners Group said it aims to transform North Star into a leading next-generation offshore wind infrastructure services company “which reflects the firm’s focus on investing with sustainability factors in mind.”

David Daum, Managing Director, Private Infrastructure, Partners Group, said: “North Star represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a leading energy infrastructure services business that is well-positioned to capitalize on the transformative trends driving growth in the offshore wind industry.

“The company provides mission-critical services and benefits from steady demand due to high barriers to entry and few direct competitors.

“We have extensive experience in the offshore wind sector and North Star is a great fit for our platform-expansion strategy.

“We look forward to working with Matthew and the team.”

North Star CEO Matthew Gordon said: “We have decades of operating experience and maintain a market-leading position for both ERRVs and SOVs.

“Looking ahead, servicing the offshore wind industry represents a huge growth opportunity for us as the decarbonization of economies gathers pace.

“Partners Group’s operational expertise in that industry will be very valuable as we expand into new offshore wind markets in Europe, which are experiencing similar tailwinds to those in the UK.”

Nicholas Pepper, Member of Management, Private Infrastructure, Partners Group, adds: “The provision of mission-critical offshore infrastructure services is a subsector within renewables that we have been tracking through our thematic sourcing approach.

“Demand for SOVs is being driven by the construction of larger wind farms further from shore, which makes daily maintenance trips inefficient.

“North Star’s home market of the UK, the largest offshore wind market globally, is expected to account for a large proportion of future offshore wind capacity, providing the company with a good springboard for growth internationally.”