Britain’s biggest marine repair firm will have city home

DEAL Jason Coltman, left, and Brian Needle of Testbank
DEAL Jason Coltman, left, and Brian Needle of Testbank
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A DEAL has been done to create the largest independent ship repairer in Britain, which will be mostly based in and around Portsmouth.

Staff at Burgess Marine and Testbank Ship Repair were told on Friday that their two firms were to merge.

The deal will see 120 full-time staff work under the Burgess Marine banner from the six sites, with a combined annual turnover of more than £20m.

Testbank’s privately-owned shares were purchased outright for an undisclosed figure.

Nick Warren, managing director of Burgess Marine, said: ‘Whilst this is an acquisition on paper, both parties view this as very much a friendly merger rather than anything else.

‘It is one that will benefit our customers across the UK and internationally from economies of scale, as well as providing job security and prospects for our 120 highly skilled and dedicated employees and over 200 sub-contractors, including our Hampshire bases at Trafalgar Wharf in Portchester and at Southampton docks.’

Testbank has 70 employees, and while its head office is in Southampton, it has a huge 1,000-tonne ship repair lift at Trafalgar Wharf, Portchester, so it can repair superyachts and other crafts in dry dock.

Burgess Marine employs 35 at Portsmouth Naval Base, 20 at its head office at Channel View Road, Dover, and five in Poole.

Mr Warren added: ‘It is important to stress that, with the vast majority of staff, there is little crossover with roles. Where there are any job duplications, we will look at task redeployment elsewhere within the business.’

The 70-plus clients of newly-enlarged Burgess Marine, including a number of strategic partnerships, include A&P Falmouth, Brittany Ferries, Condor, P&O, Red Funnel and Wightlink, BAE Systems, cruise liners group Carnival, UK support services company Serco, Eurotunnel, Rolls Royce, Andrew Weir Shipping and the RNLI.

Staff at Burgess Marine and Testbank were officially informed of the new business structure in a meeting hosted by Burgess Marine and held on January 25 at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton.

Mr Warren said: ‘This was very much a chance to warmly introduce the extended family and reassure everyone that, by joining forces, the future with Burgess Marine is a strong one. This is a very exciting time for all of us, at all levels.’

The acquisition was through a combination of funding from HSBC bank and private cash.

Jason Coltman, managing director, Testbank, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Burgess Marine, becomes operations director for Burgess.

He said: ‘We will be able to draw upon Burgess Marine’s complementary expertise and skill pool, and it is fantastic news for everyone involved.’