Expansion still on the cards for North East subsea specialist business

Legasea, a Business Gateway client, is looking at options for expansion now that the UK has left the EU.

Legasea, a North East subsea specialist company that provides electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic services has worked with Business Gateway to develop and implement their business plan.

The team has been focused on expansion, working in international markets such as the USA and West Africa, and pre-COVID-19 was exploring options to trade with the EU. However, due to the pandemic, these plans were put on hold.

Ray Milne, Operations Director at Legasea, said: “Our business is just over two years old, and up until now, our focus has been primarily on UK markets. We are fortunate to be in a strong position, and given this, before the pandemic, we had been expecting to take on an accelerated expansion strategy; looking at ways to set up new facilities overseas, as well as exporting. However, both COVID-19 and the UK leaving the EU has impacted these plans.”

Like many businesses, Legasea has been impacted by COVID-19 and the team has turned its focus to building resilience across its North-East based operations.

Ray said, “Over the past year we have been hunkering down and ensuring our operations are in the strongest position possible to withstand the ongoing impact of the pandemic. In terms of our growth, we are in a similar position to where we were in 2020 but hope that this will change over the coming year and enable us to pivot and refocus on our efforts to expand the business into new markets, including the EU.”

Legasea, which primarily works with businesses in the oil and gas sector, has not previously exported into the EU, as many target firms are based outside EU countries. However, potential countries Legasea would be interested in expanding into include Denmark and Holland.

Ray said: “So far, our company has been fairly insulated from the effects of leaving the EU as our operations and people were not based there. However, ongoing uncertainty at the end of 2020 did impact our plans to expand, as we had hoped to move into other regions, whether that involved setting up new facilities overseas or exporting into new markets. In terms of future plans, with a deal now in place, we need to get to grips with what the implications might be for us, whether that is in terms of moving equipment or for our staff.

For Legasea, it is important to be adaptable, resourceful, and lean on support agencies who can help. The team previously worked with Scottish Development International when progressing expansion into new regions, and advises businesses to reach out if they are uncertain about anything.

Ray commented: “We have been thankful for the support from agencies such as Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway who have all helped us firm up our growth strategy. Now, as we look to expand into new markets, we’ll take those lessons and ensure we factor in all of the new trade rules. While there will be challenges and potential cost increases, for us, we have limited experience in this area, so it’s no different to getting to grips with the exporting rules the UK has in place with other countries. We hope that this helps us as we continue to expand our operations and offering into new markets.”

For up-to-date advice and information about operating after Brexit, please visit Findbusinesssupport.gov.scot /operate-after-brexit