Photo: Credits to Reach Subsea

Wilhelmsen buys into Reach Subsea to scale up remote subsea ops

Norwegian maritime group Wilhelmsen has acquired a 21% stake in the compatriot subsea contractor Reach Subsea to position itself in the renewable value chain and explore the remote subsea concept.

As disclosed, Wilhelmsen and Reach will form a strategic partnership to commercialise the Reach Remote concept. The partnership is expected to bring Reach Subsea into new industry verticals and geographical regions.

The Reach Remote concept, operationalised in cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime and Massterly, was launched in early 2021 with a support grant from Innovation Norway.

The company aims for the delivery of its two first Reach Remote unmanned surface vehicles (USV) in 2023. By 2025, the company’s ambition is to provide a full portfolio of subsea services from a low-emission, cost-effective, remote, and autonomous fleet.

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These USVs will serve as mobile power banks, data centres and communication modules for underwater ROVs, with the USVs operated from Massterly’s onshore control centres.

With this model, Reach Subsea aims to become a preferred supplier of survey, inspection, and light repair services to the offshore wind industry. It will also target aquaculture, subsea mining, and environmental surveillance.

Furthermore, the Oslo Bors-listed company acquired iSurvey in pursuit of larger subsea projects and expansion on a global scale.

Wilhelmsen has also subscribed for new shares in Reach equivalent to a 21% stake and will be granted warrants which, if fully exercised, will potentially give the maritime firm a 33% ownership stake.

Supported by Reach’s major shareholder, North Energy, the election committee plans to propose to the annual general meeting that Espen Gjerde, vice president of Strategy and M&A in Wilhelmsen, is elected as a new board member of Reach.

Commenting on the partnership Jan Eyvin Wang, executive vice president of New Energy at Wilhelmsen said: “We have been actively assessing the subsea market to find a company that could add complementary scale to our ambition within renewables.

“We see potential to grow within emerging sectors such as offshore wind, subsea cables and other offshore electrification infrastructure, carbon storage and deep-sea mining. Through their strong customer relations, extensive experience and cutting-edge technology gained from offshore oil and gas, Reach Subsea is an ideal partner.”

CEO of Reach, Jostein Alendal added that by combining core maritime competencies, global footprints, and wide-ranging networks, the parties will scale up the Reach Remote project and future-proof marine subsea services through safe and sustainable solutions that will dramatically lower operational costs and the environmental footprint of operations.

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