Issue 01 2011

Above and beyond

CERTEX as it is today began in the mid 2000s after a break up of the original CERTEX group through sales and management buyouts (MBOs), during which Swedish Industrial Group Axel Johnson International acquired the German, Scandinavian, Baltic and Russian companies.

During 2007 and 2008, Axinter went on to purchase offshore lifting experts Erling Haug, lifting equipment testing firm Peter Harbo, and CERTEX UK following its independence after the break up of the original CERTEX group. Together, CERTEX Group has been re-established as a dominant force in the sector of lifting services and products.

As a group, CERTEX offers complete lifting solutions to clients around the world including product supply and delivery, maintenance, inspection, testing, training, contracted hire and management systems. It has in its portfolio over 50,000 products to serve a huge array of applications, counting not only rope and wire ranges but also cranes, winches, jacks, slings and lifting equipment. To best serve each market sector, CERTEX operates a number of dedicated subdivisions throughout its organisation.

Managing director of Peter Harbo, Palle Ankersen explains how CERTEX International Offshore Services, the group’s division focused on offshore activities in the North Sea, is a co-operation between several different daughter companies: “We realised we could cover the entire North Sea area and so decided to form a group called CERTEX International Offshore Services comprised of the companies CERTEX Norway, Erling Haug and Haug Offshore Services both located in Norway, Peter Harbo from Denmark and CERTEX UK. Though the group is not an entity itself, with each company retaining individual activities, we have common customers throughout the region as well as share information and knowledge to better serve all our customers.”

Officially launched in August 2008, the group was formed to take advantage of and combine the capabilities offered by each individual company. Integrating resources has helped accelerate the growth of all involved whilst also enabling complete lifting solution packages to be delivered throughout the North Sea by the sharing of brands available to the different groups. The product portfolios comprise practically everything needed for lifting, pulling, fastening and securing, as well as testing and inspection.

As a result products on offer include both standard and specialist items such as high performance crane ropes, DNV-approved wire rope slings, lifting clamps, crane blocks, ROV hooks, fall arrest systems, lifting beams, hydraulic jacks and pneumatic hoists. Furthermore, the group has just installed a new 1200 tonnes test bench, located at Peter Harbo in Esbjerg, Denmark.

Representing world-leading brands, CERTEX offers the best products and systems available. It adds value through its solutions, including installation and training as well as after-market services, which can also be customized.

As a member of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) since October 2010, the organisation is now able to provide help and guidance on the safe use of all its lifting equipment up to industry-recognised standards.

Services are equally diverse in scope, from advice on legislation and equipment maintenance to operation supervision. Taking all companies into account, CERTEX International Offshore Services provides its products and services to every major operator currently working in the region.

“We act as a group so that should one of the companies have a contract, then the client suddenly decides to go elsewhere in the North Sea, that client will still have access to similar services and to the same suppliers,” explains Palle. “This shows we are a strong group with ongoing financial stability. Our customers are assured that we won’t be going bankrupt the next day; it could be seen as an inherent safety feature. All companies involved have extensive experience in the offshore business so we know what our customers expect of us.”

Much like many supply companies in the offshore industry, CERTEX International Offshore Services noticed an impact on business as a result of the economic crisis, particularly during 2009 and 2010. “Although it has been down during the last couple of years, we have strong expectations that levels of activity and turnover will once again return to the level it was pre-downturn,” says Palle. “We believe that the North Sea will continue to be a good market in the years to come.”

He continues, outlining the potential in this sector: “Because we are maintaining our focus there, we would like to see that ongoing growth in the area through oil and gas operators continuing their search for new fields. The potential is much bigger than what has been suggested but they need to be given the economic opportunity from governments to explore new regions.”

Even with the rise of renewables in the offshore sector, Palle’s belief that oil and gas will remain important into the future and continue presenting new opportunities displays confidence in CERTEX International Offshore Services.

Peter Keith, president of CERTEX, concludes: “CERTEX’s overall business concept is to create solutions primarily for industrial customers, assisting them in achieving profitable operations by ensuring efficiency, reliability, quality and safety in their processes. We are distributors, problem-solvers and advisors at the same time. We link customers to products and systems from leading manufacturers around the world, adding our own expertise in various solutions and service commitments to create value for customers and suppliers alike. Our financial strength enables us to continuously examine new opportunities for growth. The whole CERTEX Group and its many local companies including CERTEX Offshore Services look forward to a future brighter than ever.”

Products: Lifting equipment and services