Scotland business

North Sea engineering firm Plexus cuts 50 posts

North Sea oil platform Image copyright PA

Oil and gas engineering services firm Plexus Holdings has cut 50 jobs after being hit by a sharp contraction in exploration activity in the sector.

The Aberdeen-based firm said it had laid off the staff after seeing sales revenue halve in the second half of last year.

Plexus, which rents specialised wellhead equipment, reported revenues fell year-on-year from £13.5m to £6.8m.

It also reported a loss of £3.5m for the six months to 31 December.

That compared with a pre-tax profit of about £2.2m for the same period in 2014.

Plexus said the impact of falling oil prices had particularly affected UK North Sea operations, as companies reduced their investment levels.

It has undertaken a series of cost-cutting measures in response to the downturn, including laying off 50 of its 130 staff since the beginning of March.

The company is also focusing on sales opportunities beyond its traditional North Sea territory.

Last year, it either supported or started wellhead operations for several international oil and gas operators including Cardon IV in Venezuela, Masirah Oil in Oman and Brunei Shell Petroleum.

Plexus chief Executive Ben van Bilderbeek said: "Faced with the current climate of lower orders and lower revenues, we like many other companies are of course not simply waiting for a pick-up in exploration activity to return to positive cash flow.

"We have embarked on a series of major headcount and cost reduction measures designed to ensure we come through this cycle much leaner but still in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunities that I believe will present themselves as deferred and new drilling projects come back on stream."

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