Energy prices fuel growth for Guernsey’s biggest employer

Rising confidence in the stability of oil and gas prices in the North Sea are helping to drive growth for a local company that specialises in providing services to the maritime industry globally.

Voyonic is responsible for employees in more than 90 jurisdictions from its Elizabeth House, Ruettes Brayes, St Peter Port, headquarters and has just taken on an additional six staff to meet demand from Britain’s offshore energy sector.

‘We may not be the best known Guernsey company locally,’ said chief executive Neil Carrington, but we are probably the island’s biggest employer.’

The reason is that Voyonic recruits, manages, pays and handles the tax and social insurance affairs of more than 6,000 individuals whom it employs on behalf of a wide range of maritime and aviation clients.

The rising confidence in oil and gas prices has created a surge of activity in the North Sea as fresh investment is pouring into the offshore energy sector and operators in the exploratory and production arenas need staff. Increasingly, they outsource the full HR, payroll and other employment elements of crewing to specialists like Voyonic.

The benefits to Britain’s seafaring community of offshore employment companies were recognised by then deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, himself a former seaman, as far back as 2001 and confirmed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

‘As a result, we operate in a highly regulated and technically challenging environment providing essential employment services to people who are constantly moving across the planet,’ said Mr Carrington.

Future growth is anticipated and since incorporation locally in 2007 with just one senior manager, Voyonic has grown to a team of more than 40 people and has recently moved into larger accommodation at Elizabeth House because of demand for its services.

‘We’re a company for whom regulation is beneficial,’ said Mr Carrington, ‘as it ensures we not only comply with all HMRC requirements and those of the other jurisdictions in which we operate, a good selling point for quality clients.

‘We also welcome the new “economic substance” regulations introduced by the States because to our clients and potential clients it offers further comfort that Guernsey is a well-regulated jurisdiction, unlike some of our competitors elsewhere, we are fully tax resident here and carrying on what are classed as relevant activities under the substance legislation.’

Voyonic was also experiencing strong demand for its services from the superyacht and aviation sectors and expected to continue recruiting throughout 2019, he said.