US fund brings wellboat operators together

Photo: AquaShip AS

Two leading Norwegian-based wellboat businesses – AquaShip and Intership – are set to merge following a deal that has seen both of them taken over by a US investment fund.

American Industrial Partners Capital Fund VII, LP, an investment fund managed by American Industrial Partners (AIP), has become the majority and controlling shareholder in both AquaShip and Intership.

The combined company will be led by CEO Sverre Taknes operating from Kristiansund and Executive Chairman Ole-Peter Brandal operating from Hareid.

AIP said: “The combination brings together two complementary businesses with leading operating expertise, differentiated and high-quality assets, and technological innovation. The combined company will benefit from significant access to capital as a result of the transaction, enabling execution of ambitious growth plans on the back of increasing demand for diversified aqua services from both new and established customers globally.”

London-based investment firm Alchemy was the largest shareholder in Intership until it sold its entire stake in the transaction. AILP, with majority ownership by AMERRA, previously the largest shareholder in AquaShip, will continue as a shareholder in the combined company and will be represented on the Board by the CIO of AMERRA, Craig Tashjian. Management from both companies will also continue as significant shareholders.

AquaShip claims to be the only company that owns and operates vessels in all four main areas of aqua services. It operates a fleet of 28 vessels, consisting of live-fish carriers, utility vessels, harvest vessels, fish feed carriers and service vessels, with operations in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Chile, Canada and Shetland (pictured, above is Intership’s Grip Marine)

Intership has built one of the world’s most modern wellboat fleets and has proven to be an innovative player by bringing new and fish-friendly freshwater treatment for lice and gill diseases into the market. It is a member of industry body Salmon Scotland.

Together, the combined company will have a fleet of 39 vessels and nearly 700 employees operating in Chile, the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Norway.

Sverre Taknes, CEO of AquaShip and CEO of the combined company, said: “We are pleased to bring in AIP as a strategic partner and majority owner of the new combined company. We believe we have a unique platform, combining AquaShip’s recognized competencies across multiple vessel types and local hands-on experience in several regions with Intership’s renowned expertise in live fish carriers.

“Together, we aim to unlock new, impactful partnerships across all regions and further enhance our already excellent service to customers. By leveraging AIP’s capabilities, combined with both AquaShip’s and Intership’s innovative approach and diversified platform, we are confident that the combined company is well positioned for the growth journey ahead.”

Ole Peter Brandal, CEO of Intership and Executive Chairman of the combined company, said: “We look forward to embarking on a new journey with AIP and AquaShip and continuing our mission of delivering and even further enhancing the highest quality service to our clients. We’re convinced that our longstanding customer relationships, global footprint, pioneering technology, and dedication to serving our customers will provide a valuable platform for the path ahead. Joining forces with AIP and AquaShip marks an exciting chapter for everyone at Intership.”

DNB Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor to AquaShip and Arctic Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to Intership in connection with the transactions.

Arkwright London LLP advised the AquaShip Board.

Talweg Capital has co-invested in the combined company, advised AIP in connection with the transactions and serves on the combined company’s Board of Directors.

Intership’s Inter Atlantic at a fish farm

 

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