Fugro bolsters marine robotics offering with acquisition of SEA-KIT
The Netherlands-headquartered geo-data specialist Fugro has reached a binding agreement for the acquisition of the remaining shares in SEA-KIT International. The two players have enjoyed a long-standing relationship in the development of hi-tech uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) for low-carbon emission maritime operations and research.
While revealing the deal to acquire the full ownership of SEA-KIT International, Fugro explained that the acquisition would help strengthen its leadership in marine robotics solutions. The two companies have collaborated closely for several years to push the boundaries of USV technology, tucking under their belts numerous breakthroughs and milestones along the way.
Some of these achievements entail the delivery of the first commercially available remotely operated USV and electric-powered remotely operated vehicle (ROV) combi solution to the offshore asset inspection and monitoring market; approvals from various authorities in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia to operate the jointly developed USV and ROV combi solution through a global network of remote operations centers; and delivery of five Fugro Blue Essence 12-meter USVs spread across all key regions.
In addition, there was also the completion of – what Fugro said was – the world’s first fully remote inspection of offshore wind farm assets carried out by a USV and integrated ROV along with the winning of multiple awards globally for innovations contributing to safer, faster and more sustainable offshore operations.
Henk van Dalen, Director Blue Robotics at Fugro, commented: “We are excited to welcome the talented SEA-KIT team into the Fugro family. We look forward to leveraging their knowledge and growing the SEA-KIT product offering to the maritime industry as we continue to drive innovation in this space. We are committed to ensuring a smooth integration process and will work closely with our new team members to maximize the value delivered to our combined customer base.”
According to Fugro, Ben Simpson, CEO and founder of SEA-KIT International, has been “a key leader” in the partnership, with “a fundamental role” in reshaping the maritime industry. Under Simpson’s leadership, SEA-KIT fostered “a culture of innovation, excellence, and adaptability, propelling the company to the forefront of the autonomous maritime industry,” added the Dutch player.
The acquisition, which is expected to be completed before the end of 2023, is subject to customary closing conditions. Afterward, SEA-KIT will continue to provide clients with USV products for cost-effective operations with enhanced safety and significantly reduced carbon emissions.
Fugro highlights that new advancements to look forward to in the wake of this acquisition entail the launch of the next generation of USVs, the 18-meter Blue Eclipse USV specially designed for fast pipeline and deepwater asset inspection activities, as well as a zero-emissions hydrogen-powered USV.
The Netherlands-headquartered giant reported revenue of €608.9 million for 3Q 2023, an increase from €480.2 million reported in the same quarter of 2022. This increase is seen as a result of better contracting conditions, high activity levels, and good project execution. The company is planning to expand into the carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) segment as part of its strategy towards 2027.
Fugro has also embarked on decarbonization initiatives, as demonstrated by multiple deals, including the one with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai. The Dutch player is committed to reducing its own emissions to reach net zero by 2035 through the adoption of remote and autonomous technologies, electrified vehicles, and greener fuels such as methanol.
Recently, the company won a contract with Ignitis Renewables to conduct a geophysical survey at Lithuania’s first offshore wind farm site.