Starn Group: Expansion of Key Subsidiary Safehouse within the UAE

Starn Group: Expansion of Key Subsidiary Safehouse within the UAE


Scottish oil and gas companies that have their sights set on establishing a base in the Middle East often do so from a strategic perspective. Having a presence in the Middle East presents boundless prospects for development and growth, many of which are opportunistic.

Starn Group – a global business focused on safety, and on delivering economic benefit to its customers through the provision of a range of safety-related products and services – understood the potential advantages that a presence in the region would bring to both the group and to its clients.

Rick Clark, Chief Financial Officer at Starn Group, explained: “The Middle East is a key market for the oil and gas industry. As an organisation aiming for an extensive global footprint, Dubai was a logical first location for our principal subsidiary, Safehouse Habitats, to build a presence in this new market. But we required expert legal advice to facilitate our presence there.

“It was at this point that we consulted Hugh Fraser International (HFI). The team at HFI had sound knowledge of our group and its global operations through previous business development consultations. After several discussions, we were assured that our aim to establish a base in Dubai was the right move at that time for the company.

“With plans in place, acquiring a 100% free zone presence was the next step. HFI’s guidance was invaluable. With a location secured, Safehouse was able to commence on the ground in an important market and trade efficiently throughout the region.

“After a successful start in Dubai, it became clear that a subsequent move to Abu Dhabi would enable potential and current clients to be served even better. Abu Dhabi also offered closer proximity to Saudi Arabia, another potential target market for the company.”

The advantages associated with forming a base in Abu Dhabi were undeniable. Establishing the operation, however, did present several challenges.

Rick stated: “The move to Abu Dhabi required Safehouse to secure a local partner. This required very careful consideration: securing a trustworthy partner was, without a doubt, the top priority.

“Without HFI’s assistance, Safehouse – and indirectly the wider Starn Group - would not have been able to identify such a reliable and trustworthy partner. And the team at HFI led us smoothly through the creation of the legal arrangements with our partner, which remain the cornerstone of our business in Abu Dhabi.

“Additionally, HFI managed the constitutional documents and ensured any changes to UAE law were reflected accordingly, making sure that the business remained compliant at all times.

“HFI has provided Starn Group with specialised guidance throughout its expansion in to the Middle East. It is very reassuring to have the confidence you are working with a company which has the right skills and in-country knowledge to point you in the right direction.

“With a base in Abu Dhabi now fully established, Starn Group can shift its focus to further business development in new markets. The proximity to Saudi Arabia means we can more readily consider a presence there as well as look into the prospect of servicing other markets in the region. We are confident that we have had the right guidance along the way thanks to the team at HFI.”