Industry leading marine support

£425million to fuel North Star’s next phase of European expansion

North Star has secured further debt investment of up to £425million 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.

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). 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.

North Star, owned by Partners Group (a leading global private markets firm acting on behalf of its clients), has bases in Aberdeen, Lowestoft, Newcastle, and Hamburg, and operates 41 multi-purpose ships in the North Sea. In addition, 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 firm has a further four newbuilds underway – an SOV for EnBW's He Dreiht wind farm in Germany, another for Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy at the East Anglia THREE project, and its first two larger Commissioning SOVs to further support its offshore wind clients.

Fraser Dobbie, North Star chief financial officer, commented: “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.

Its SOV fleet carries several VARD designs to meet clients’ offshore logistics support and operational requirements, including the accommodation of the wind farm technicians remaining and working in field. As well as providing high quality amenities and comfort, the high-performance hybrid-electric ships utilise numerous green technologies and solutions to best support the safe transfer of personnel and cargo to the offshore infrastructure through the motion compensated gangway. North Star is at the forefront of innovations in the sector creating solutions such as Decision Support system to support zero carbon objectives, hybrid daughter crafts and logistics handling advances.

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Pam Wilson
BIG Partnership

01224 211045

Jun 6, 2024