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AquaShip eyes expansion as US investor buys 51% stake

The Johnson Marine vessel Viking Viknes, one of 27 boats operated by AquaShip. Photo: AquaShip.
The Johnson Marine vessel Viking Viknes, one of 27 boats operated by AquaShip. Photo: AquaShip.

New York-based agriculture investor Amerra Capital has bought a 51% stake in AquaShip, the wellboat and workboat service company formed last year by the merger of Shetland’s Johnson Marine and Norwegian firm Gripship.

In a press release, Kristiansund-based AquaShip’s chief executive Sverre Christian Taknes said most of Amerra’s investment had come through a private placement “which has significantly strengthened the balance sheet, and thus is strongly equipped for further growth through new construction contracting, acquisition and purchase of second-hand tonnage”.

AquaShip said significant growth opportunities had materialised across all vessel segments and geographies, “where swift access to growth capital and project management expertise will be critical to capture and prioritise the increasing demand for a broader spectrum of maritime aquaculture services”.

Necessary funds

“AquaShip has the experience to operate, design and build maritime aqua-service vessels, but prior to the new partnership with Amerra, we did not have the necessary funds and institutional support to scale our efforts,” added Taknes.

It has not been disclosed how much money Amerra Capital has invested in AquaShip, but Taknes states that the company is worth more than NOK 2 billion .

Amerra Capital is a New York-based agribusiness investment fund with total assets of $ 1.9 billion.

Strategic vision

Amerra managing partner Craig Tashjian said AquaShip’s strategic vision and growth had prompted the investor’s interest. It was also impressed with the quality and integrity of AquaShip's management team.

“We look forward to supporting AquaShip in securing their business plans,” said Tashjian.

AquaShip owns 29 vessels including service and harvest boats, wellboats and feed carriers and operates in Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Chile, Iceland, Canada, Greece, Croatia and Spain.

AquaShip's latest workboat was launched in Pula, Croatia last month. Video: Tehnomont / AquaShip.