Independent ship repairer acquires Portchester boat building firm

Jason Coltman, the managing director of Meercat Workboats Ltd
Jason Coltman, the managing director of Meercat Workboats Ltd

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BRITAIN’S largest independent ship repairer Burgess Marine has successfully acquired Portchester-based Meercat Workboats Ltd.

Meercat, which will retain its own brand name, currently builds workboats up to 18m in length.

With plans to expand, the company has appointed Jason Coltman as managing director.

Burgess Marine is already building two wind farm support vessels for Mainprize Offshore Ltd.

The company will complete these builds and then launch the two new vessels as Meercat’s.

Subject to berth availability, the aim is to exhibit the first of these two new vessels at the Seawork exhibition in Southampton next year. The acquisition of Meercat complements the other arms of the Burgess Marine business.

Nicholas Warren, Burgess Marine’s managing director, said: ‘The acquisition of Meercat is very much in 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.’

Jason Coltman, Meercat’s managing director, added: ‘Since the acquisition we’ve contracted one 14m new build to Dawnfresh Farming Ltd 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.’

Burgess Marine launched a new wind farm support vessel concept, called Sure Build, at the Seawork in June.

Nicholas 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.’