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June 15, 2010

Wind farm vessel operator gets backing for fleet expansion

Offshore Wind Power Marine Services Ltd.(OWPMS) of the U.K. has announced plans to build 60 wind farm crew transfer vessels and create 200 full time jobs. It aims to offer operators vessel service packages during construction, operation and maintenance phases of wind farm development hroughout Europe, Asia and the U.S.A.

OWPMS is in a joint venture that will see the Brook Henderson Group put in UKP 20 million (about $29 million) in equity over the next two years and also negotiate 90% funding for new builds, based on its 15 year track record in asset funding. It adds up to a total investment of up to UKP 60 million (slightly under $90 million.

OWPMS cofounders Paul Walsh and Eddie Ward say that recent developments in the baking sector had made raising funds to build new vessels very difficult, preventing OWPMS from expanding and making it difficult to tender for new work.

"However," they say, "we are very pleased to be welcoming the Brook Henderson Group onboard who have shown both faith in us as a successful operating company and who can see the benefits of investing in this sector of the renewable energy market. This partnership means we can now pick up and proceed with new and existing tender opportunities as a preferred supplier to the utilities. We can now fund an ambitious build program for our clients and offer them the reassurances of contracting with ourselves and the Brook Henderson Group."

Newly appointed commercial director Rob Stewart, formerly of South Boats Special Projects, laid out the strategy of the Joint Venture: "We are looking at this industry from the future rather than organically growing from the past. The design of vessels, access systems, fleet structures and training need to be rationalized as part of an integrated approach focusing on safe, cost effective reliable access to the turbines. Above all it is about partnering with the client and fitting our service around their strategy, which as market leaders allows us to expand globally."


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