Rapid growth

Since its inception in 2010, Ambrey Risk has established itself as the world’s largest operator in the maritime security and anti-piracy sector. As a provider of a comprehensive range of services for ships and offshore assets in high risk environments such as East Africa and West Africa, the company has grown rapidly since its first offshore project in Kenya and Tanzania in the first quarter of 2011. Key to this growth was the company’s strategic decision to expand overseas in 2013 in line with the globalisation of the armed guard business, with new headquarters being set up in Dubai alongside offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea. Kong, Singapore and Korea.

On top of this, the company rapidly expanded the volume of armed guards it employs and began taking on guards of international origin in 2012; this decision has since paid dividends as it reflects the majority of market demand currently. To remain competitive, Ambrey Risk also sought to take a leading role in writing the UK firearms training standard at the City and Guilds Maritime Security Operator Standard, as John Thompson, Senior Advisor of Ambrey Risk, discussed with Shipping & Marine in March 2015: “We recognised that international training certifications were essential for the longevity of our business and have sought to move discussion on armed guard standards away from that of nationality and more on to military experience and internationally accredited civilian training standards. As the first maritime security company to be registered with Manipal City and Guilds in India we have now trained all of our Indian guards to the City and Guilds standard. This development means all of Ambrey Risk’s guards, whether Indian or British, all undergo the same standard of training. This single standard, regardless of nationality has been our goal from the outset and reflects the attitudes of our clients.”

Proud to be the first organisation in the industry to achieve the ISO 9001:2008 accreditation for the provision of maritime security services for vessels with LRQA in August 2012, the company chose not to rest on its laurels and went on to successfully gain the ISO/PAS in November 2014. This compliance further demonstrates Ambrey Risk’s commitment to providing quality security management services that fully safeguard seafarers against potential risks at sea; the company is also currently pursuing ISO 14001 and 18001 certification.

With turnover growing nearly 22 fold between 2011 and 2014, the company was launched to eighth place in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 annual league table of the fastest growing companies in the UK in 2014. Since being featured in Shipping & Marine in March 2015, this trend of success has continued for Ambrey Risk, with the company supporting 214 ships with security teams in July 2015; a record for the company. “This target was reached through a very professional, focused and well-resourced sales team combined with acquisition of competitors and significant volumes of our client’s ships sailing in our core operating area,” says John, who continues to highlight other notable developments for the firm over the last nine months: “Since March we have grown the business by a further 30 per cent. This has been achieved through organic growth and the acquisition of a competitor. We have also opened an office in Japan and Mumbai to expand our reach globally.”

The acquisition of Control Risk’s maritime security business, has enabled Ambrey Risk to strengthen its customer base and services while also taking on a further 36 offices across five continents. “Control Risks were an excellent acquisition as their compliance and standards lead approach was identical to ours. This ensured their clients found the transition an easy one and that their business integrated seamlessly with ours,” highlights John.

This acquisition follows Ambrey Risk’s acquisition of Drum Cussac’s maritime transits security division, which offered expert security consultants who are highly skilled in all marine environments to protect commercial shipping firms from seaborne piracy threats in the Indian Ocean. These acquisitions further cement the company’s commitment to providing maritime security services to its customers while other companies have focused elsewhere, as John notes: “The market has been highly challenging in 2015 as our sector faces a rising compliance bill at the same time as significant price falls for the service we provide. Many smaller competitors have gone out of business and everyone is feeling the pressure.

“Our core maritime security market will face continued pressure in 2016, which will reinforce our strategy to grow our market share through acquisition during this time of consolidation. We will also be looking to broaden the services we provide our shipping clients,” he adds.

While it continues to strengthen its foothold in West Africa despite the numerous regulatory challenges, Ambrey Risk will also be focusing on enhancing its presence in the Somali piracy market and expanding its training segment, as John notes: “We have expanded our training to provide courses in Poland and Sri Lanka. We have now got registered City & Guilds centres in both locations, training 75 people a month. This underpins the growth in our core business.” Indeed, by remaining in diverse markets and offering a wide range of services, the company is certain to maintain a secure future in a volatile market.

Ambrey Risk

Armed security guard specialists

Grown business by further 30 per cent since March 2015

Acquired Control Risks in 2015