Inchape Acquires FMS

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has fully acquired Fawley-based agency Furness Marine Services Ltd (FMS), the second major acquisition it has completed in 2004. ISS is now 12 months into its two-year plan to double the size of its business through organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Following last month’s acquisition of the Ancon depot facility in the Port of Antwerp and several mergers and acquisitions completed in 2003, that plan is well on schedule to be met or exceeded within the expected timeframe. Independent shipping agency FMS was the result of a management buyout of Furness Withy Agency in 1993. Furness Withy had held a contract with Esso since 1985 and FMS has continued working with the international oil and gas major ever since. Following the acquisition, ISS will assume responsibility for all existing contracts and the Esso agreement will integrate effectively into the global agency deal with parent company ExxonMobil that ISS won last year. “FMS has been the sole agent to have a presence in the Fawley refinery. With such a strategic office location, experienced staff and Exxon links it has been able to offer a consistently first-class service to the tankers calling at Fawley. ISS will continue this tradition and look to identify and harness opportunities to extend the range and scope of services offered for the benefit of the customer,” said Claus Hyldager, Chief Operating Officer, Global Services, ISS. “This acquisition fits comfortably with ISS’ strategic objectives, and will add value to the growing success ISS is enjoying within the bulk liquid sector.” FMS handled over 400 tanker port calls in 2003 and ISS will be looking to grow this volume by way of its added-value service offerings, including its pioneering Voyage Management product. Michael Sewell, FMS Managing Director said: ”We at Furness Marine Services have always enjoyed a close relationship with ISS. With FMS having a wide and strong customer base at Fawley and ISS recently having been awarded the ExxonMobil global agency contract it was a logical move for both companies to integrate.” ISS will operate a fully-manned 24/7 office based within the Esso Fawley Refinery. Seven existing FMS staff, with a collective 150 years of industry experience, will transfer to ISS. The acquisition was for an undisclosed sum. In addition to Esso, customers at the facility currently include Wonsild, Broströms, Herning, Everards, Polimeri, Solent Towage, Sigas Kosan and Gefo.

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