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Nearly 50 roles safe and more jobs on the way after PD&MS swoops for Optimus

PD&MS Group chief executive Simon Rio sees big opportunities ahead for new acquisition Optimus.
PD&MS Group chief executive Simon Rio sees big opportunities ahead for new acquisition Optimus.

Nearly 50 north-east jobs have been saved and about the same number are expected to be created after the acquisition of engineering consultancy Optimus (Aberdeen) out of  administration.

Another Granite City-based company, PD&MS Group, swooped to buy Optimus for an undisclosed sum.

Optimus was put into administration by its own bosses last Tuesday (January 25).

It is thought the impact of Covid-19 and the oil and gas downturn on the company’s cash flow prompted the move.

Jobs target

The firm employs 45 people and the whole workforce, including chief executive Chris West and the rest of the management team, has been kept on.

Its new owners aim to double the headcount within a year.

The business now operate as Optimus Plus (Aberdeen) – a subsidiary of global engineering consultancy PD&MS, which employs around 550 people in Scotland and a further 100 overseas.

PD&MS has operations in Glasgow and Baku, in Azerbaijan, as well as Aberdeen.

This deal secures the future of the business and our people.”

Christ West, CEO, Optimus.

Simon Rio, the group’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased to complete the purchase of the Optimus business and assets in a deal that will provide continuity for all staff and customers and see their business run autonomously as part of the PD&MS group.

“Optimus has a fantastic workforce and is a truly remarkable engineering consultancy, with over 20 years’ experience of providing innovative front-end engineering solutions across the oil and gas and renewables sector.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Chris and his wider team, and support their growth with a framework to allow them to capitalise on the significant opportunities ahead.

“It’s our plan to double their number of employees in the next 12 months.


Mr Rio added: “PD&MS has a clear strategy to support the industry, maximise economic recovery, decarbonise oil and gas infrastructure and further extend our services across the global energy and industrial sectors.

“Following our acquisition of low carbon engineering specialists Synergie Environ in 2021, we have already doubled the size of their business.

“We are confident that we can replicate this evolution and success with Optimus.”

‘Fantastic opportunities’

Mr West said: “This deal secures the future of the business and our people.

“It promises fantastic opportunities for Optimus and PD&MS to collaborate in bringing a stronger proposition and added value to our respective and shared clients.

“We are proud to be part of the PD&MS group, with the autonomy to further develop our brand of innovative engineering services, the flexibility to expand our reach across new and core energy industries, and the support to scale our business more significantly than we might have been able to manage independently.”

Optimus chief executive Chris West.

Joint administrator Richard Bathgate, restructuring partner at Aberdeen-based accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael, said: “We are pleased to have been able to conclude the sale of the business and assets of Optimus (Aberdeen) Limited to PD&MS, as this will provide the best outcome for the company’s creditors, customers and skilled workforce.”

Optimus was founded by former chief executive Ian Bell in 1999.

In January 2020 it was announced Mr Bell was stepping down as CEO of the company he described as his “third child” but would remain a director.

Optimus founder Ian Bell.

PD&MS was founded in 2002 by four directors and acquired by Middlesbrough-based Wilton Group in 2008.

Equistone Partners Europe acquired a majority stake in the Aberdeen firm as part of a £16 million management buyout of Wilton in 2010.

In July 2014 another change of ownership for PD&MS saw Inflexion Private Equity Partners add the business to its investment portfolio in a deal worth more than £50m.

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