Offshore services group Gardline has been bought by a Dutch company, ending nearly 50 years as a family business.
Dredging and marine experts Boskalis has paid approximately £40m, including taking on company debt, for the Great Yarmouth firm.
The company’s main activities include marine geophysical surveys, offshore geotechnical services and environmental surveys, and the two firms say there are “significant synergies” between them.
Gardline currently employs around 750 employees, including a pool of 100 surveyors, and as well as its offices in Great Yarmouth has activities in the USA, Brazil and Singapore.
In a statement, Boskalis said: “With the acquisition of Gardline, Boskalis strengthens its existing survey activities and becomes a specialist provider of subsea geotechnical surveys with an exposure to the renewables market and the early cyclical oil and gas market.
It added: “Based on the challenging near-term outlook, Boskalis does not expect the transaction to be EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] accretive within the next few years. This transaction, however, positions Boskalis well for when end-markets recover.”
Gardline, a member of the EDP/EADT Top 100 list of Norfolk and Suffolk’s biggest companies by turnover, was founded in 1969.
It operates 15 survey-related vessels in addition to 25 smaller vessels including crew transfer vessels and survey catamarans.
According to the company’s latest accounts filed at Companies House, it turned over £114.872m in the year to April 30, 2016 – a significant drop from the previous year’s turnover of £210.592m. It made a pre-tax loss of £4.552m, down from 2015’s loss of £7.241m.
It put the drop down to the difficult conditions in the oil and gas industry, caused by subdued oil prices, and said it had made sure ensure “costs are closely controlled and structural changes have been enacted”. Its accounts show that in its most recent accounting period it employed an average of 1,221 employees, down from 1,729 in the year to the end of April 2015.
Earlier this month Gardline won £6m of contracts from ScottishPower Renewables for pre-construction surveys across the East Anglia One wind farm site and a project in Massachusetts in the US.
Source: Eastern Daily Press, 15 August 2017