An integrated approach

Trading internationally from nine geographical locations in the UK, Burgess Marine Ltd’s legacy dates back to the 1970s when it began operating on short sea ferries and high speed craft; following a successful few years in these markets, the company made the strategic decision to expand into three specialist markets, commercial marine, defence and superyacht, in the early 2000s.

Today the UK’s largest independent ship repairer, Burgess Marine is at the forefront of the specialised marine engineering industry, having earned a global reputation as experts in all areas of structural repairs and renewals and mechanical repairs both above and below the waterline. Focused on three core specialist markets, Burgess Marine has accumulated an impressive client list that includes the Royal Navy, Serco, BAE Systems, Babcock, Condor Ferries, Wightlink and Brittany Ferries. Alongside its core activities, the company also provides bespoke design solutions and additional services such as warehousing and procurement, diving, repair and refit management, new build and modular fabrication and marine electrical engineering; this includes providing servicing, repairs and installations.

With locations in Lowestoft, Ramsgate, Dover, Portsmouth, Portchester, Southampton, Poole, Avonmouth and Devonport, Burgess Marine is ideally located to not only support the UK’s largest passenger ports, but also shipping through the busy English Channel. Moreover, the company operates two Syncrolift facilities; one in Portchester (1000T) and Cherbourg (5000T), northern France and boasts highly skilled teams that are capable of carrying out planned refits and emergency ship repair works across the globe.

In February 2015 the company gained a new shareholder in RJD Partners, which enabled it to continue growing in its three core markets, commercial marine, defence and superyachts. Meanwhile, in the final quarter of 2015, the company partnered with Kent-based mechanical and electrical repair company Mechanica Utilities, to maximise the use of its facilities and resources in Dover and share its workshop and fabrication facilities on a national scale. This partnership has not only enhanced the utilisation of its offices, workshops and machine shops in Dover but has also ensured Burgess Marine can deliver more efficient and cost-effective solutions to customers.

No stranger to strategic acquisitions, Burgess Marine has continued to expand its operations via comparable service offerings that dovetail within the group from a sales revenue and service offering perspective since it was previously featured in Shipping & Marine in July 2016. “The biggest development over the last ten months is the acquisition of Global Services in October 2016,” says Nicholas Warren, the Chief Executive Officer of Burgess Marine Ltd. “Specialising in the procurement of goods and engineering equipment for superyachts in service around the world as well as superyachts being built principally in northern European shipyards, Global Services is a supply business that specialises in supporting the superyacht sector in a very cost effective and customer focused fashion.”

He continues: “Since coming together with Global Services we have achieved the three principle things that were the strategy behind the acquisition. First of all, we found a home for our successful procurement business that specialises in the supply of marine-centric goods to the commercial marine and cruise ship sector, principally supporting the likes of Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Secondly, around two-thirds of what Global Services sells are engineering components, so we are currently going through the process of offering engineering services from Burgess Marine to Global Service’s customer base. The third objective is that Global Service’s customer base is comprised of more than 2500 superyachts, many of which are of a size and geographical location that could be supported by our refit centres in Palma, Cherbourg, Lowestoft and Portchester. We are talking to the customer base of Global Services about Burgess Marine’s ability to deliver refit packages on those superyachts, so it is really a period of integration at the moment.”

Now operating under three trading entities, Global Services, Meercat Workboats, and Burgess Marine, the company is keen to begin cross-selling its services to deliver an enhanced offering to its customers, as Nicholas comments: “In terms of extending our service line, we want to offer more marine procurement to our engineering customers, offer diving services to our commercial customers and offer our workboats to the ports and harbours we are involved in from an engineering support and maintenance perspective. It is a mixture of cross-selling and extending our existing service offering that we are really trying to achieve.”

With RJD Partners keen to support Nicholas’ vision to create a market leading provider of marine engineering services, complete with a national footprint and full service offering, the future looks positive for the growing Burgess Marine business as it continues to integrate its services in order to deliver turnkey solutions. “There are exciting things happening across the business,” confirms Nicholas. “Within Burgess Marine we have some great new customers on board and are building some major pontoons for the Thames; we are also extending our relationship with Babcock down in Devonport and have a developing relationship with many operators that are running out of Avonmouth and Portbury based on what we see happening at Hinkley Point. Meanwhile, within Global Services, we are supporting more yachts in service than we have ever supported before and are also spending more time in the yards in northern Europe as well as more new build projects.

“When it comes to integration, we are starting to see customers of Global Services be introduced to Burgess Marine, which is starting to work very well, while the Meercat Workboats business has an increased commercial pipeline. We are building more boats than ever before, but have extended the Meercat Workboats product range away from just the 14 m road transportable workboats to 18 m workboats and landing craft, which means we are seeing an extension of the product range in this area of the business too. This part of the company has seen the biggest level of investment since July 2016, with Meercat Workboats relocating from Portchester to Southampton and into new premises. The business now benefits from a purpose-built workboat building facility that enables us to build three to four boats simultaneously while also extending the product range,” he adds.

Moving forward, Burgess Marine is looking forward to a period of stability and further consolidation as it integrates operations and further ensures the infrastructure of the business is operating optimally. “Having spent a lot of time and money on our integrated management system, accreditations, codings, training and approvals over the last 12 to 24 months, we want to really look at each business unit and put the customer at the heart of what we do. For me personally and the rest of the senior team, our focus will be two-fold: making sure we have the best management in the industry and putting as much focus, effort and energy into our customers; this has to be the driving force of the business going forward. As a management team we are hugely proud of our technical team and all the guys in the business that work so very hard for the company; for us it’s now all about the customer – we are so grateful for their continued support and so very pleased about both repeat business and new custom. It’s a very big ‘thank you’ from me,” Nicholas concludes.

Burgess Marine Ltd
Three businesses, three markets
Truly national maritime support network
Specialise in marine fabrication, refits, engineering and ship repair
Acquired Global Services in October 2016