Partners Group to acquire North Star

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 13/01/2022 North Star
Partners Group, a global private markets firm, has, on behalf of its clients, announced its acquisition of NorthStar, an operator of specialised vessels that offers emergency response and rescue and essential offshore wind maintenance services, from Basalt Infrastructure Partners.

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, North Star operates a fleet of 48 Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs) and Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) and around 1,400 employees. NorthStar's ERRV fleet is among the largest in Europe and provides crew rescue, firefighting, and other emergency response services to offshore energy operations in the North Sea.  The company is also a UK provider of SOVs, which are used to transport technicians to offshore wind farms and accommodate them for extended periods of time.

Partners Group aims to transform North Star into an offshore wind infrastructure services company. Partners Group stated it will work with management on a transformational value creation plan that will expand the company's platform in Europe through growing its offshore wind fleet and broadening its offshore wind offering.

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."

Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, North Star, commented: "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, added: "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.  NorthStar'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."

Back in December, North Star Group secured a Service Operations Vessel (SOV) contract to support the third phase of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, off the coast of Yorkshire. The UK firm secured a long-term charter worth approximately £90 million for its new hybrid-powered renewables fleet for
Dogger Bank C, to support offshore wind technicians working in the field.

This will be the fourth SOV and associated daughter craft the business has been contracted to build and operate by Dogger Bank’s joint partners Equinor, SSE Renewables and Eni this year. In March, the firm won the initial contract for
Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B following a tender for the design and delivery of three SOVs in a deal worth an estimated £270 million. Each of the four Dogger Bank SOVs have been contracted on a 10-year agreement, with three additional one-year options.