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Global Marine Systems: Tonnage lookout

Chelmsford: There’s a glut of subsea installation vessels in the market at the moment, which is presenting one ambitious company plenty of acquisition targets. Global Marine Systems, which was taken over by HC2 Holdings last September, has a legacy that spans 160 years in the telecommunications market.  The business today though, is also immersed in other sectors supporting the digital requirements of the oil & gas market – fulfilling their demands for fibre to platform connectivity and undertaking a variety of projects that require the installation and burial of subsea cables. It also provides vessels for the offshore power market, something that is viewed by the company’s boss as a booming market.

“2014 saw us providing vessels to key customers in this market and we see a robust set of opportunities ahead,” says ceo, Ian Douglas.

Global Marine’s presence in Europe and Asia is particularly strong.  In Asia this is thanks in a significant measure to some successful joint ventures, one of which S. B. Submarine Systems marks its 20th anniversary since inauguration this month. The other Huawei Marine has just completed the successful sea trial for the second-generation repeater, upon Global Marine’s flagship vessel Cable Innovator.

“We believe that our Chinese joint ventures are well positioned to support the exponential growth of the offshore wind market in China,” says Douglas, whose past career included seven years  working in the People’s Republic.

2015 will see Global Marine working in West Africa and North Asia in addition to its more traditional geographies.

“As a company, we are keen to be involved in Permanent Reservoir Monitoring opportunities globally, as we see this as a close fit with our subsea cable knowledge,” Douglas explains.

Douglas says the company’s current pipeline of work is strong and it finds itself short of ships, something that current market conditions bring great opportunities.

“We have plans in place to expand the fleet – we need ships to replace old tonnage and to meet demand, we intend to build our fleet with an asset mix of purpose-designed vessels both owned and chartered as business need dictates,” Douglas says. Global Marine has designs for newbuilds ready to go but we will wait to see how the market evolves in the coming months.

Douglas, who believes the oil price drop is only temporary, notes there’s lots of vessels on the market without work. “We will watch and see what openings this brings,” he says, adding, “We can benefit from the oversupply of subsea assets and buy and convert for our particular use.” [27/01/15]

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