London: British classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) is determined to continue its acquisition streak. Speaking exclusively to Maritime CEO, Richard Sadler, the ceo of the 252-year-old institution, said: “We intend to continue to aggressively pursue suitable acquisitions.” In the past four years LR has spent £170m acquiring specialist energy companies.
Sadler is aware of “significant” changes coming to the classification business in the coming years. “The recent merger of DNV and GL just reinforces that view,” he said.
LR’s focus, Sadler said, “will be on providing leading-edge technology advice and solutions at a competitive price”.
With green technology to the fore in shipping at the moment, Sadler echoed recent comments made by LR’s marine director, Tom Boardley, that it is important not to mix facts with ambition.
“There is no doubt,” Sadler said, “that the fuel efficiency of vessels is being improved and emissions are being reduced by using different fuels. We have leading expertise in all these areas.”
To this end, in the past two years, LR has announced the creation of two global technology centres – in Southampton and Singapore – which represent a commitment of more than £120m.
LR is actively looking into the use of methane, fuel cells, the next generation of LNG fuelled-ships and other innovations as shipowners and regulators alike increasingly clamour for eco solutions to shipping. “It is an exciting time,” Sadler said, “a time that is reinforcing why technology and our new technology centres are critical to our future business success.”
On growing the group’s revenues, Sadler said: “We have plans to grow our business everywhere,” citing the group’s latest financial figures which show the growing importance of the Americas and Asia as a balance to LR’s strong Europe, Middle East and Africa bases.
Specifically, Sadler spoke of his hopes for Brazil. “We are conscious of opportunities in Latin America, particularly Brazil, where I have just joined a UK government trade delegation, reinforcing our commitment to that country,” he said.
Despite the bullishness for LR’s own global expansion, the classification boss was honest in his assessment for the immediate outlook for the shipping industry. “For shipping,” he concluded, “the next 12 months at least will see vessel supply exceed any increased demand from a rising global economy.” [07/02/13]