Case study: How two electrical specialists defied the odds amidst the global oil price crash | People and Skills

During times of economic uncertainty, it is often prudent for business leaders to diversify their companies’ products, services and markets to mitigate their risk exposure. In the same way that many businesses are now adjusting their strategic outlook in light of Brexit, others are using the opportunity to enter into new markets. Following a similar period of uncertainty in 2015, after the global oil and gas price crashed, load bank specialist Crestchic and power distribution specialist ide Systems teamed up to take on the Middle East power rental market.

It may come as a surprise to learn that some of the world’s biggest companies started out life in a very different form to the brands we know and love today. For example, Twitter started life as a podcasting service, Starbucks used to sell coffee machines, Nokia began as a paper mill, Hewlett-Packard specialised in electrical testing products and even Apple teetered on the brink of bankruptcy before Steve Jobs launched the iPod.

A difficult dilemma

Similarly, Crestchic found itself in need of an adjustment to its business model when the global price of oil and gas crashed. One of a group of companies owned by AIM-listed Northbridge Industrial Services plc, Crestchic is the world’s largest specialist load bank manufacturer, having sold and hired equipment to companies worldwide for over 25 years.

“Following the oil price crash, our parent company Northbridge plc faced a growing risk-exposure to a portion of its investment portfolio, which consists of businesses serving the oil and gas market,” explained Chris Caldwell, European rental director of Crestchic. “To mitigate this risk, we adjusted Crestchic’s strategic focus to capitalise on the growing power market.”

The rapid growth of social media, online services and cloud computing in recent years has given rise to an increasing dependence on temporary and emergency backup power supplies, which are used to power the new wave of data centres. This is particularly…

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