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Former STV finance chief's boardroom role at newly listed firm


Former STV finance chief George Watt has joined the board of newly stock market-listed firm OTAQ Group.

The Hamilton-based accountant is listed as a director after the aquaculture specialist was acquired for £12.4 million in a ‘reverse takeover’ by Hertsford Capital.

Watt is also non-executive chairman of SpaceandPeople, the Glasgow-based retail centre marketing firm. He is a former KPMG auditor, was chief financial officer of STV for nearly 20 years until April 2019, and is on the executive committee of SCDI.

It is the first acquisition for Hertsford, a cash shell formed in June 2018 and listed on the London Stock Exchange. The firm has assumed the OTAQ name under the deal which was steered by the Glasgow corporate finance team at law firm CMS.

CMS corporate partner Graeme Bruce

Hertsford relisted on the LSE yesterday as OTAQ Group, with funding raised through the placing of new shares. They got off to a rocky start, opening at 55p on Tuesday and falling to below 39p this morning.

Lancaster-based OTAQ is a marine technology company which supplies the aquaculture and energy sectors. Its Sealfence accoustic product protects salmon farms against predators, sub-sea cameras, laser measuring devices and leak detection systems for clients worldwide.

OTAQ recently expanded into a new base in Aberdeen, having taken over electrical cables specialist Link Subsea last year.

The transaction was led by CMS corporate partner Graeme Bruce and a team from across the firm.

Phil Newby, CEO of OTAQ, said: “We are excited by the opportunity we now have to develop our operations and products, building on the rapid progress we have made in recent years. This listing and additional capital will allow us take advantage of the many growth opportunities we have, and accelerate the development of new products.”

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He added: “We are absolutely delighted with the support and immense dedication of Graeme and the CMS team who led this transaction and drove it to a great conclusion despite volatile stock markets and the global Covid-19 crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

Bruce added: “Congratulations to Phil and the team for their perseverance and dedication to achieving the listing, a truly great team effort. I would like to commend all my CMS colleagues for their invaluable support under extremely challenging circumstances.”



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