Aberdeen’s North Star secures £425m debt investment

Aberdeen-based North Star said it has secured further debt investment of up to £425 million to accelerate its ambition to become the leading player in Europe’s offshore wind sector and add 40 hybrid service operation vessels (SOVs) to its fleet by 2040.

North Star, owned by Swiss private markets firm Partners Group, has bases in Aberdeen, Lowestoft, Newcastle, and Hamburg, and operates 41 multi-purpose ships in the North Sea.

It also has three of four newbuild SOVs in operation at the Dogger Bank Wind Farm with the final asset on schedule for early delivery next year.

“The committed financial package of £225m includes term facilities from existing lender, IFM Investors, and committed capex and working capital resources from banks including ABN AMRO (sustainability co-ordinator), AIB, NAB, Royal Bank of Scotland and RBC (sustainability structuring advisor),” said North Star.

“The facilities also have accordion capacity allowing a further £200 million in funding, enabling the firm the flexibility to upsize as required, removing financial risk and streamlining new business opportunities in the offshore wind sector.

“RBC Capital Markets performed the lead advisory role in support of the transaction.”

Fraser Dobbie, North Star chief financial officer, said: “This £425 million strategic investment highlights the attraction of our robust business model and ESG transition journey as we push to become the leading player in Europe’s SOV sector.

“The infusion of capital from a combination of institutional and bank investors secures access to the capital required to support our continued growth, and provides validation from the lender market of the excellent progress we have made on our strategic journey to build our business for sustainable, long-term success in the offshore wind market.

“For potential clients, this committed debt package provides certainty on our ability to deliver vessels as outlined in our tender bids, financially de-risking the process completely.

“This provides us with a competitive edge and a superior ability to turnaround high quality SOV newbuild programmes more rapidly, ensuring the best value and service in the industry.”

North Star has been operating for 137 years and employs a workforce which includes 1,400 onshore personnel and seafaring crew.