Burgess Marine acquires Meercat Workboats


Jason Coltman, managing director of Meercat Workboats Ltd

Britain’s largest independent ship repairer, Burgess Marine, has successfully acquired 100% of the share capital in Meercat Workboats. Meercat, based in Portchester, near Portsmouth in Hampshire, currently builds custom road transportable multi-role workboats up to 18m in length.

With plans to expand into both Class-approved vessels and aluminium wind farm support vessels, the company has appointed Jason Coltman as Managing Director. Burgess Marine, which is based in Dover, is already building two wind farm support vessels for Mainprize Offshore.

The company will complete these builds and then launch the two new vessels as Meercats. Subject to berth availability, the intent is to exhibit the first of these two new vessels at Seawork in 2015.

Nicholas Warren, Burgess Marine’s Managing Director, said: “The acquisition of Meercat is very much line with our plans for longer-term strategic growth: Meercat builds boats, Burgess Marine repairs ships, and Trafalgar Yacht Management manages yachts.

“Our intent is to develop Meercat by gradually expanding the company’s product range and facilities. “We’re looking at barges, canal tugs, larger Class approved workboats and the potential for further ‘Sure Build’ style aluminium builds.”

Burgess Marine launched a new boat concept, called Sure Build, at the Seawork International 2014 exhibition in Southampton in June. Mr Warren added: “The Sure Build concept has been very well received by the offshore wind farm industry.

“The customers love it. Yes, it’s low margin, but from our perspective it’s also very low risk and completely safe from the customers side. “Sure Build really suits the wind farm support vessel market as so many customers have had their fingers burned.

“In terms of core business, Meercat will keep doing exactly what it’s always done. That is building great, practical and bespoke multi-role workboats on a fixed price basis. “Why change what works?”

Jason Coltman, Meercat’s Managing Director, said: “Since the acquisition we’ve contracted one 14m new build to Dawnfresh Farming and we’re in the final stages of agreeing a Canal Tug contract too.

“Business remains brisk and we’re very much looking forward to the future. From a fiscal perspective being part of Burgess definitely helps. That said, we’re very much our own entity and we’re intent on building both our own brand and our position within the market.”

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.