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Air Energi acquires South Korea's Kitco

By  AOG Staff Wednesday, 06 August 2014 12:04
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Air Energi Group, a global workforce solutions provider for the oil and gas industry, has acquired KITCO Ltd. (Korea Inspection & Testing Co. Ltd.), a leading supplier of manpower, training, accommodation, and procurement services in South Korea.

Under the terms of the transaction, Air Energi has acquired the operating assets of the KITCO business to establish the only provider of end-to-end local and expatriate manpower services in South Korea.

KITCO’s CEO since 1998, Won Seong Choi (pictured at right) will lead the integration of the new entity, Air Energi Kitco.

Home to three dominant shipbuilders, South Korea’s shipyards account for 48% of the global offshore shipbuilding market by value. To date, every floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project worldwide is scheduled for fabrication in the country. Currently supporting more than 600 oil and gas professionals, Air Energi Kitco will provide local staff and expatriates compliant to mandated requirements, together with global mobility services, accommodation, and procurement services. Crucially, the company has exclusive arrangements with property developers that ensure access to high-quality, western-style apartments in key locations such as Ulsan and Geoje.

“Many of Air Energi’s existing and target clientele are managing significant construction and fabrication projects out of South Korea for the foreseeable future,” says Duncan Gregson, Group CEO, Air Energi. “This acquisition marks a major milestone for the Air Energi Group, provides a solution to the challenge of finding suitable accommodation for expatriate workers, and gives us first-mover advantage over our international peer group in what is a burgeoning market.”

The ability to deliver an end-to-end service for both local and expatriate manpower needs in South Korea is a key differentiator for Air Energi. It provides oil and gas operators using Korean shipyards with a compelling case to consider the company as a trusted partner for the complete project lifecycle. The acquisition also builds on the Group’s valuable experience in the FLNG sector and across the oil and gas supply chain, while providing a springboard for further expansion into North Asia.

Ian Langley, Group Chairman, Air Energi adds “We are delighted to confirm that Mr Choi will be leading the new business. He has a long track record of success and a strong understanding of the local fabrication industry and the wider oil and gas market, which is hugely important to our approach of thinking globally and acting locally.”

“This acquisition marks an important new chapter for our company as we continue to see an increasing flow of work coming into the shipyards of South Korea,” says Mr Choi, CEO, Air Energi Kitco. “Being part of the Air Energi Group means we have greater access to project-based opportunities and international markets, as well as oil and gas professionals with highly sought-after skills. I am looking forward to leading the integration of our businesses, which makes us the only in-country supplier of complete workforce solutions able to provide our clients with greater control of their workforce requirements and unrivalled quality of service.”

Air Energi has offices in over 40 locations and serves more than 50 markets worldwide. It has regional hubs in Manchester, UK; Doha, Qatar; Houston, US; Brisbane, Australia; and Singapore.

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