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PE-backed Silixa delivers 96 per cent year-on-year growth

Silixa, a specialist service company delivering distributed fibre optic monitoring solutions for data acquisition, backed by Lime Rock Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Equinor Ventures, has reported a 96 per cent increase in global turnover to GBP20.35 million in 2019. In the same period, profit margins also increased from 48 per cent to 51 per cent and EBITDA grew to GBP2.75 million despite significant reinvestment into the business.

CEO, Glynn Williams, says: “Since 2007 Silixa has focused on serving the oil and gas sector, deploying and developing the highest quality distributed fibre-optic sensing-based monitoring solutions on the market. In 2019, we doubled down on our diversification strategy, entering sectors in need of accurate monitoring solutions like ours, but which were historically underserved. The speed and extent to which that strategy has paid off points to just how much benefit these markets get from technology like ours.”
The firm now operates across five sectors outside oil and gas: alternative energy, mining, environment and earth sciences, infrastructure, and defence. Key elements of Silixa’s success included the adoption of the innovative FibreWrap™ process flow metering system by the mining sector, and the transfer of oil and gas micro-seismic solutions to improve the efficiency of geothermal power production. The Carina® Sensing System has been introduced as an innovative and cost-effective solution for long-term monitoring in the rapidly emerging carbon capture and underground storage (CCUS) market.
With greater diversification in 2019, 44 per cent of revenues came from non-oil and gas operations, with the environmental and infrastructure division alone growing by 136 per cent. Silixa’s heritage in oil and gas continued to deliver however, with 109 per cent sales growth, driven by the award winning Carina XwellXpress hydraulic fracking diagnostic service and Carina® Subsea 4D solution for offshore and deepwater sectors.
Williams says: “2019 was a landmark year for Silixa, but we haven’t faded in 2020. The Silixa team has done a tremendous job in responding quickly to create a Covid-Secure working environment for our manufacturing activities and uninterrupted service to our customers. The pandemic has had an impact on the unconventional oil and gas sector, however our orders have already returned strongly as customers recognise the quality of actionable frac diagnostic data from our XwellXpress logging service. In our other sectors, we are still growing and delivering large, long-term projects, so fortunately we have been protected from the COVID-19 fallout. In fact our operational footprint has now extended to all seven continents. Our customers tend to be sticky: once they start working with us, they rarely interrupt that.”
The business has taken steps to ensure that 2019’s success is replicable in the long-term, investing heavily in new products, R&D and organisational development. Improved working capital management has also delivered a £2.8m increase in net assets over the same period.
Alison Goligher, Silixa’s Executive Chairman, adds: “The current complex macro environment is accelerating the energy transition, and data driven solutions will be essential for our customers. For example, the base metal miners, dam owners and CCUS asset owners all need to be able to justify safe, compliant operations as well as minimising operating costs. Silixa is a prime example of a company that has pivoted into the ‘new’ energy world without losing sight of its heritage. Performance like this is testament to the technology, the management team, and their strategic vision.”

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