A GLOBAL offshore firm which recently had plans to expand one of its divisions into larger offices in Darlington now looks set to depart the town.

DeepOcean is a world leader in seabed engineering and employs around 90 people in Darlington and Blyth as part of its Enshore Subsea Limited arm.

But on Wednesday it announced it had started a process to wind down three divisions of its cable laying and trenching business, the CL&T Group.
The group includes Enshore Subsea Limited, DeepOcean 1 UK Limited and DeepOcean Subsea Cables,  which until recently had offices in Darlington’s Coniscliffe Road.

The group includes Enshore Subsea Limited, which until recently had offices in Darlington’s Coniscliffe Road.
Bosses at DeepOcean said despite long-term commitment to the CL&T Group, it has been loss-making for some time.
They said despite having invested and explored structural alternatives to turn around the business, the CL&T Group is not sustainable.

It stressed that only the services provided by the  CL&T would be affected by the restructuring process.

DeepOcean said it remained committed to the renewables sector and to investing in new technologies which reduce costs and emissions for the industry.

Øyvind Mikaelsen, CEO of DeepOcean, said: “Despite our long-term commitment to the cable lay and trenching division, it has been loss-making for some time.

"We have invested and explored structural alternatives to turn around the business. However, the division is not sustainable and there is no prospect of it becoming profitable under current market conditions and with current contractual obligations.”

“Unfortunately, we have come to the difficult decision that to propose an orderly wind-down of the business is the only viable option. This provides greatest certainty to affected employees, and facilitates protection for creditors. This allows the rest of the Group to move to a secure financial footing and continue to provide jobs and create value for stakeholders. This decision is no reflection on the hard-work and commitment of our valued employees, who we are supporting through a consultation process.”

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “It is always sad to hear about any company experiencing difficulties and our first thoughts are for those employees affected. DeepOcean has strong connections to Darlington and we are keen to work with them to explore any possible areas of help and assistance that we can offer during this challenging time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation to see what emerges in the next few weeks and will do all we can to encourage a positive outcome.”

The Group has appointed Kirkland & Ellis and Alvarez & Marsal to advise on the process.

Creditors can access documentation relating to the restructuring process at www.lucid-is.com/DeepOcean.