From startup to multinational innovator

Aubin Group design, develop and supply chemistry-based, enabling technology to the global oil and gas industry and have worked with Johnston Carmichael for nine years. The firm’s CEO Paddy Collins believes that Johnston Carmichael’s support has been instrumental in their progress.

“Johnston Carmichael take you seriously regardless of what size of company you are. I started off in business as a one-man band and we’ve grown to be a multinational organisation with 50 people. All that time, Johnston Carmichael provided us with service that was appropriate to the size of business we were. I value the advice they give and the practical approach they take. It’s easy to get hold of somebody who is an expert in what they do.”

Johnston Carmichael has now worked with Aubin for nine years, in which time the company has grown from a turnover of £1.5 million to over £10 million.

“In the early days we worked without a finance team so I really relied on Johnston Carmichael. Our client relationship partner Brian Moran and his team were able to help me deal with the tax authorities and handle other issues to make sure we kept our creditors and, most importantly, the bank happy. We’ve gone from a company with a very small turnover to a business with nearly 50 staff operating in three different continents. That wasn’t an easy step - we’ve needed a lot of advice on finance, on tax, on R&D tax credits, on a whole variety of different areas to help us get to that stage.

I don’t think we could have gotten to where we are today without Johnston Carmichael’s help.

Paddy Collins,

CEO, Aubin Group

Access to finance is a key area for ambitious businesses and Paddy confirms that the advice of Andrew Walker and his Corporate Finance colleagues has been crucial.

“Johnston Carmichael helped us to get money from the Business Growth Fund and attract secondary funding. The challenge was trying to find the right equity investor who fitted our profile and my personality. We wanted somebody who wasn’t going to take over but who would be supportive.

“It’s a difficult task for any company to go through but it was particularly hard for us because we were very busy at the time, and I was raising the investment money on my own while everyone else was working in the business. 

“Apart from raising the funds and completing the transaction, Johnston Carmichael acted as our advisers. It’s quite an emotional process - you’re giving up some of your company and having to make quite difficult and challenging decisions in a narrow, short time frame. 

They helped to bridge a gap and clarify what the equity investors wanted and explain to the equity investors what I wanted in ways that both of us would understand. That’s invaluable for small companies like ourselves who don’t have advisers and non-executive directors to help us."

Research and development is another key area in which Johnston Carmichael has lent support to Aubin.

“About 25% of all the people who work for Aubin are involved in product development or R&D, and we spend considerable amounts of money on product development and R&D for a business of our size.

"Johnston Carmichael’s advice has enabled us to get a considerable amount of money back from HMRC which we’ve been able to put back into R&D and growing the company, money and product investment we wouldn’t have had otherwise."

Paddy acknowledges the difficult times which the oil and gas industry is facing but confirms that ongoing support from Johnston Carmichael will be important as they amend their strategy to address the downturn.

“It’s a challenging time for the sector but we’re confident that with Johnston Carmichael’s help we’re going to be able to get through it. We set up in the US last year and we’re growing that business and we’re still expanding in the Middle East.

“There’s a substantial amount of business still to be achieved so we’re finding new customers, making new products and new systems that we can sell into those exciting new markets.”

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