Shipbuilding Merger: Wight Shipyard and OCEA Reach All-share Deal
British aluminum shipbuilder The Wight Shipyard Co. on Tuesday announced an all-share merger with France-based shipbuilder OCEA to create a combined group aiming to capitalize on the fast ferry and offshore renewable energy markets opportunities. The deal is scheduled to complete by March 2022 and will see The Wight Shipyard Co. nearly double in size.
Peter Morton, CEO of The Wight Shipyard Co., said, “This is a transformational deal for The Wight Shipyard Co. and for the Isle of Wight, confirming the resurgence of the shipbuilding industry in the United Kingdom. We have been working with OCEA on a number of projects and it was very clear from the outset that we complemented each other in terms of skills and experience and, going forward through the business cycle, both companies can benefit from the synergies and opportunities that this deal presents. We have enjoyed a first-class working relationship with OCEA to produce vessels and solutions to the highest standards, pushing the boundaries in terms of fuel efficiency, the environment and modern shipbuilding practices.”
The Wight Shipyard Co. is best known for building fast-ferries for both domestic and international customers. OCEA builds for the maritime security, passenger vessels, multipurpose workboats, transoceanic yachts and hydrographic research markets. Both companies also support the offshore renewable energy sector.
Roland Joassard, CEO and founder of OCEA, said “OCEA is expanding internationally to respond to strong demand in these markets and appreciates the new ‘Global Britain’ and refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy outlook. Wight Shipyard Co. shares the same DNA, passion and high quality of workmanship as OCEA and its expertise in the fast ferry market complements OCEA’s qualities in other markets. Having worked with the Wight Shipyard Co. and Peter’s team in a number of ways already, we feel that they are the perfect partner to develop global orders for the fast ferry and offshore renewable energy markets.”
Based at their primary yard in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, OCEA employs more than 500 with further facilities in France, as well as the Caribbean and the Philippines. Following the merger with the Wight Shipyard Co., the group will share resources and operations in East Cowes that will ramp up significantly, the companies said.
Morton said, “For East Cowes and the Isle of Wight, this is a step change in terms of future employment and security for the outstanding team at The Wight Shipyard Co. We will be able to bring in more high-skilled shipbuilders and technicians as well as providing career pathways all through the production chain. It’s a deal that secures livelihoods and is transformational for East Cowes as the epicenter of aluminum shipbuilding in the U.K.”
The merger comes on the back of the news that The Wight Shipyard Co. has secured the contract for two new ‘Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ with the shipyard already into the design and build of the next generation of Clipper-class vessels utilizing the very latest battery-power technology and recharging options.