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J&S Subsea in control following management buyout

The Aberdeen based subsea controls engineering division of SEA, a subsidiary of the independent technology group Cohort plc, has undergone a management buyout as it looks to grow its core business in the North Sea European energy sector.

Since the divestment completed, the company has reverted to a new version of its original trading name, J&S Subsea Limited. The business is now wholly owned and managed by the senior leadership team, led by Matt Blair. All 17 personnel have been retained and the firm has plans to expand its engineering and production workforce in the coming months.

J&S Subsea is a global subsea energy controls company for new and recertified equipment. The business will continue to focus on refurbishing, designing, manufacturing and engineering controls for the energy sectors and providing operational support where required.

Its Legacy Locker repository subsidiary business is also part of the MBO and will continue to offer its clients options from its range of refurbished capital equipment. The online resource takes existing, unwanted equipment and recycles or re-engineers assets to provide a cost-efficient and optimised solution as well as offering options for sale rather than scrappage.

The company also has plans to move to a new facility in the Aberdeen area that will allow them to support current operational requirements as well as giving options for expansion and new opportunities.

J&S Subsea executive chairman Mr Blair said: “We would like to thank SEA for all their support through the last few years and wish them the best for the future. We are well positioned to build on our reputation and experience in subsea controls and operational engineering support to drive the business forward in the UK Continental Shelf as well as overseas. As businesses engage further in the energy transition, the number of subsea campaigns in the North Sea are on the rise. It’s our strategy to focus on supporting these projects and demonstrate the value we provide with our responsive, safe and high-quality solutions.

“We are aiming to continue and expand our areas of expertise in the upcoming years and will achieve this by building organically and strategically while continuing to deliver a first-class experience to our clients.”

The transaction was supported by law firm Addleshaw Goddard and corporate finance advice was provided to the management buy-out team by Dow Schofield Watts in Aberdeen.

Dow Schofield Watts partner, Tom Faichnie, said: “The subsea division is a successful and profitable business whose skills in helping clients to extend asset life will be very much in demand in the years ahead. The transaction gives the experienced management team autonomy of the business to take it forward to the next stage of its growth.”

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James Morris – Engineering Director
James joined the Royal Navy from school where he successfully completed a 5-year Marine Engineering Apprenticeship. After 10 years’ service he started a career in hydraulic systems design, manufacture and project management.
After 5 years working in the hydraulic service industry James moved to Kvaerner Oilfield Products as a Support Engineer providing engineering support for production and service teams within the controls group. He was also responsible for the design, manufacture and offshore operation of the Control System Well Monitoring Equipment for Shell assets used during well intervention testing.
Whilst at KOP he completed an Open University Postgraduate Diploma home study course in Manufacturing: Management and Technology
He subsequently moved to RRC Controls Services where he was solely responsible for all the mechanical and hydraulic design of the company’s successful diver installable Subsea Control Module. Over 10 years at RRC he designed and built a range of bespoke subsea equipment from electrical and hydraulic Subsea Distribution Assemblies to Chemical Injection Flowmeter housings.
On moving to J+S Ltd as a Senior Engineer James continued to be responsible for design of subsea and renewables equipment including a new design ROV installable Subsea Control Module and next generation Medium Voltage dry-mate connection systems. During his 10-year tenure at J+S Ltd and SEA James has been promoted to Principal Engineer and then to Engineering Manager.
James has a wealth of knowledge in Project Management and design processes, using Solidworks 3D and document management software to produce highly configurable product designs in very short timescales.
As Engineering Director at J&S Subsea Limited, James looks forward to developing the engineering capabilities of the business, providing innovative designs, high quality products and responsive service to the Subsea Energy Industries.
Simon Smith – Business Development Director
Simon has worked in the oil and gas sector for over 20 years. He started his career as a planning co-ordinator for offshore development systems and has since been involved in both surface and subsea operation management both locally and overseas with Wood Group, Plexus Ocean Systems and Cameron’s before joining J+S Ltd in 2012 as a Senior Account Engineer. J+S Ltd then became part of SEA Ltd and the Cohort Group where Simon was promoted to Business Development Manager in 2019 before taking part in the management buyout of the Aberdeen based subsea division of SEA to form J&S Subsea Limited.
Simon initially studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Edinburgh University and later Engineering Design at The Robert Gordon University and recently became a Certified Project Management Associate through APM. Simon has experience with on and offshore support along with efficiency and safety control and has utilised this to deliver large scale projects for international clients in the energy industries.
As part of J&S Subsea limited, Simon plans to help grow the Subsea Energy business both in the UK and globally while championing a circular economy focus to help provide a better future.
Simon Smith
Matthew Blair – Executive Chairman
Matt has worked with SEA and previously J+S Ltd for over 10 years and has a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise. Matt works closely with Oil company subsea engineering and production controls departments, supporting their operational assets
Matt worked with Ferranti Computer Systems Ltd in the naval simulation group and through his extensive experience in electronics and sonar, moved into hydrographic survey working with Subsea7, Tritech, and CDL before joining J+S Ltd.

Matt has lead the management buyout of the Subsea Engineering division of SEA for J&S Subsea Limited and is seeking opportunities to transfer technologies and products into the Oil and Gas and marine renewables markets.