Strong demand for turbine installation technicians and operations and maintenance (O&M) engineers saw 3Sun record 92.3% revenue growth last year.
The UK-headquartered company also operates in offshore oil and gas, but managing director Graham Hacon told Windpower Offshore that much of 3Sun's recent growth had stemmed from offshore wind clients.
Revenue grew by more than 170% between 2010 and 2011, to £6.5m, with a further significant jump achieved last year, to £12.5m. This year will be one of consolidation says Hacon, who expects to see more modest revenue growth, to £13.5-14m.
Hacon founded 3Sun in 2006, with the company initially involved in marine contracts such as the conversion of heavy lift vessels for the offshore oil and gas market. The move into offshore wind was a bit of gamble, admits Hacon. "We became aware of a shortage in offshore wind of turbine installation technicians," he explains. "We took a punt, hired ten guys and trained them."
Siemens was 3Sun’s first offshore wind client and remains an important one. The company’s 110-odd turbine installation technicians have worked on an impressive list of Siemens-powered projects, not least London Array. 3Sun’s 2010 purchase of Dawson Energy increased the number of turbine technicians it employs, and strengthened its market position.
The company is currently raising headcount further, from 220 to 300, with former Armed Services personnel often featuring amongst new recruits. With so many new technicians coming on board, 3Sun has been struggling to secure sufficient training places. This prompted Hacon to buy Eastern Training Services late last year. "Training is a major part of our spend. This year, we will probably spend half a million pounds on training," he says.
In addition to supplying construction staff, 3Sun has also secured two three-year offshore wind O&M contracts. It was recently awarded a statutory inspection and general engineering contract by Scira, the operator of Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm. The 317MW development is close to 3Sun’s headquarters in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
It also has a similar contract with another unnamed UK offshore wind operator, and Hacon hopes to see 3Sun's O&M side expand further.
With bases in Esbjerg, Aberdeen and the Scottish west coast town of Oban, 3Sun is currently looking for a German base.
Finally, Hacon is eyeing the crew transfer vessel market. Rather than simply supplying boats, he envisages 3Sun offering clients a turnkey solution, comprising both vessels and technicians.