Shiprepair & Maintenance: 1st quarter 2017
Britain’s largest independent ship repairer and marine engineering services provider, Burgess Marine, recently completed the acquisition of the superyacht specialist Global Services. The purchase is Burgess Marine’s fifth business acquisition in recent years and its second since RJD Partners’ private equity investment in February 2015.
Chief executive, Nicholas Warren, says: “We’ll be taking the best bits of both the businesses and putting them together to the benefit of our customers.” Warren believes the combined business will benefit from the fact that Global’s principle focus is on the procurement of marine engineering components and Burgess Marine’s core skill is the provision of marine engineering services.
He adds: “We would like to promote more superyacht refits at our Portchester facility; and we’d like to offer customers that buy engineering components from Global a full turn-key service including onsite support and installation. We’ll also be using this merger to expand both our agency network and our offering within the superyacht sector.”
In recent times Burgess has completed some substantial superyacht projects, including major upgrades to Lady A, which was one of the group’s highlights of 2016. The company has also handled a significant amount of work for Boston Putford at its Lowestoft yard, as well as for other key clients, including the Port of London and Ministry of Defence via both BAE Systems and Babcock.
Burgess Marine has workshops and offices in Lowestoft, Dover, Portsmouth, Portchester, Southampton, Poole, Avonmouth, and Devonport, as well as within STP Palma in the Mediterranean. There is an ongoing programme of investment at many of these yards, but there is likely to be a particularly significant upgrade of plant and equipment in Portchester and Portsmouth to meet strong demand levels over the months ahead.
Last year was a “positive but challenging” one for the group, says Warren. “The customer base wants more for their money, so we have to offer competitive solutions, for example reducing time spent in drydock. The requirement is to improve the service we offer, and the value we add, and it is significant that despite market conditions we are seeing an increase in the amount of work per vessel carried out,” he adds.
The company has been busily expanding its network over the past 18 months, for example adding Small & Co Marine Engineering in Lowestoft and the management of the Ramsgate slipways to its portfolio. “These have both been big wins for the business,” Warren says.
While 2017 is more likely to be a year of consolidation than one of further expansion through mergers and acquisitions, Burgess remains interested in adding a facility in the north of England. “This would give us the all-encompassing national coverage we aspire to,” he points out. “I hope we can seize a suitable opportunity in this region in the foreseeable future.”
The company is also looking to respond to market requirement for added value by allocating clients their own dedicated technical and account managers. “This initiative should help us stay one step ahead,” Warren concludes.