HEM takeover Makes Cathelco Water Treatment Leader

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 29, 2015

The company entered into the desalinator market after the acquisition of Seafresh Desalinators in 2010.

The company entered into the desalinator market after the acquisition of Seafresh Desalinators in 2010.


Cathelco, the world leading manufacturers of equipment for ships, have acquired Hydro-Electrique Marine (HEM) the French specialists in desalinators and water treatment systems.

The acquisition will make Cathelco one of the largest producers of shipboard water treatment systems in Europe and the premier supplier to the superyacht industry.

“The new venture will operate under the name of Cathelco HEM emphasising the strength of two well known brand names and creating a stronger presence in the water treatment market”, said Justin Salisbury, managing director of Cathelco Ltd.

Cathelco already have experience of the desalinator market having purchased Seafresh Desalinators in 2010, a small company serving the UK market which they transformed into an international exporter of watermakers.

Manufacture of the HEM equipment will continue at the company’s premises near Antibes in the south of France. This will also provide Cathelco with a technical support and stockholding hub in the Mediterranean.

Currently, Cathelco Seafresh desalinators have a maximum output of 35 tonnes per day, whereas the HEM range have outputs of up to 150 tonnes making them suitable for use on large commercial vessels and naval craft.

“The HEM range greatly increases the scope for desalinator sales and provides a good fit with our existing range”, Mr Salisbury explained.

Cathelco are now in a position where they can provide treatment systems for virtually all types of seawater used on vessels. This extends from the well established seawater pipework anti-fouling systems to the latest ballast water treatment (BWT) systems which were introduced last year and have now received IMO and AMS approval. The BWT system is now being pre-tested for USCG Type Approval.

HEM began producing reverse osmosis desalinators in 1987. Rapidly establishing a reputation for quality, reliability and customer service, the desalinator range was expanded from 1.5 tonnes to 150 tonnes per day. In 1995, the company introduced a number of fresh water treatment systems including filtration, sterilisation and water softeners.

In the commercial shipping sector, HEM’s customers are mainly smaller and medium work boats such as tugs, support vessels and personnel transfer vessels.

In the superyacht market they have long standing relationships with most of the leading European yards and have supplied systems for prestigious yachts including A, Air, Azzam, Dilbar, Eclipse, Limitless, Octopus, Pelorus, Rainbow Warrior III and Venus, just to mention a few.

Ingemar Grip, one of the founders of HEM, will remain at the helm of the business as president.

“I am very excited about this development as it will give us a wider base and bigger capacity in the supply and service of water systems to our clients. The excellent reputation of Cathelco in the market place and their work ethics is fully in line with those of HEM, so the marriage of the two companies should be a very easy process with notable benefits for our clients, present and future, as well as for Cathelco and HEM”, said Mr Grip.

Cathelco was founded in 1956 and has grown to be one of the UK’s most dynamic manufacturers of marine equipment through product innovation and diversification.

Their seawater pipework anti-fouling systems have now been fitted to more than 40,000 vessels around the world. The company also produces ICCP hull corrosion protection systems for ships and offshore platform applications.

In 2014, Cathelco introduced a ballast water treatment (BWT) system based on combination of filtration and UV technology with capacities from 32m3/hr to 1,200m3/hr.

“The HEM equipment is a natural extension to our product range. It will enable us to provide a complete equipment package for commercial vessels and superyachts which we can support through our combined network of agent/installers”, Mr Salisbury concluded.

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