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SMS acquires Burgess Marine and Global Services


SMSSouthampton Marine Services (SMS) has recently bought Burgess Marine, the UK-based independent refit yard and engineering services provider, which had acquired Global Services, the renowned superyacht procurement specialist, about a year and a month ago.

Burgess Marine had gone into administration due to the challenges surrounding the delivery of a major refit project completed in Porchester earlier this year and the payment of the final account.

Danny Dartnail from BDO, the administrator, said: “Regrettably, difficult trading conditions and a shortfall in the company’s working capital position – contributed to by a failure to secure the final payment due in regard to a recent major refit project – significantly affected the business and its ongoing viability… We are pleased to have been able to secure a partial sale of the business as a going concern.”

The ship repair operations in Lowestoft, Poole and Avonmouth will continue as usual with all the current teams employed immediately and will operate under the brand SMS.

Negotiations are currently taking place within the two Royal Navy bases at Portsmouth and Devonport for SMS to continue working within these high-security areas and it is hoped that many of the staff previously employed on the military sites will be re-hired should SMS be able to provide the required security levels.

Unfortunately, the facilities at Portchester and Dover will not be saved as operating costs at these sites do not make them viable and they have consistently lost money for years.

SMS has also purchased the entire shareholding in Global Services and Global Newbuilds a successful supply chain company operating in the Superyacht and commercial vessel market. The current Managing Director Richard Gardiner and his team will continue to run those businesses with Peter Morton and Chris Norman of SMS joining the Board.

Global Service’s managing director Richard Gardiner so commented the acquisition: “We are now in a far stronger position in lieu of who our ultimate owner now is. This is a very positive acquisition. Some of the assets, unfortunately, were not acquired, but these assets were not assets at all, they were a hindrance. Additionally, the Southampton property was unnecessary in light of the facilities SMS already has at its disposal in the area.”

“It is always sad to see so many people lose their jobs at any time, let alone just before Christmas, and we are pleased to have been able to save as many as possible,” comments Chris Norman, managing director of SMS. “Ongoing negotiations may mean that over the coming weeks we can get permission to operate within the Royal Navy Bases which may mean we can employ even more ex-Burgess employees.”