Shanghai: Debuting its brand at Marintec China this week is Global Navigation Solutions (GNS), founded by the former boss of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), Mike Robinson. Robinson tapped UK private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners to found the company last year. Phoenix has set aside £150m to develop GNS. Founded on November 21 last year, GNS has not hung around, taking over companies such as HanseNautic, Lilley & Gillie and Thomas Gunn.
“We have acquired five of the top 10 Admiralty distributors,” says Robinson, who headed up UKHO for five and a half years prior to launching his own firm. GNS now has 11 companies in eight countries.
“We want to be the leading chart provider globally,” he says, adding further acquisitions are likely.
While the brands of the acquired companies will continue for the time being, Robinson is keen to stress that all businesses are being integrated so that local customers get GNS’s global service. “No one has the global coverage that we have,” he claims.
While seemingly everything is going online these days, Robinson points out that demand for paper charts is still very strong. “There are more and more digital products but demand for paper products is stronger than ever,” he says. [05/12/13]