Isle of Wight shipyard signs merger deal with OCEA

Wright Shipyard

The Wight Shipyard Co., based at East Cowes, has made an all-share merger with multinational shipbuilder OCEA to create a combined group to ‘capitalise on the fast ferry and offshore renewable energy markets opportunities’.

The deal is scheduled to complete by March 2022 and will see The Wight Shipyard Co. nearly double in size, providing significant employment opportunities at the East Cowes yard.

Wight Shipyard Co. is Europe’s leading high-speed craft and aluminium shipbuilder and says the move secures jobs and futures on the Isle of Wight with an increased order book.

CEO of The Wight Shipyard Co. Peter Morton, says: “This is a transformational deal for The Wight Shipyard Co. and for the Isle of Wight, confirming the resurgence of the shipbuilding industry in the United Kingdom. We have been working with OCEA on a number of projects and it was very clear from the outset that we complemented each other in terms of skills and experience and, going forward through the business cycle, both companies can benefit from the synergies and opportunities that this deal presents.

“We have enjoyed a first-class working relationship with OCEA to produce vessels and solutions to the highest standards, pushing the boundaries in terms of fuel efficiency, the environment and modern shipbuilding practices.”

The Wight Shipyard Co. has rapidly built its reputation in the fast-ferry market, selling its high-tech vessels both domestically and internationally. Last year, MIN reported that The Wight Shipyard Co. was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Export. Similarly, OCEA, was awarded the Baird Maritime award in 2020 for best large patrol boat – the Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV270.

Following the merger with the Wight Shipyard Co., the group will share resources and operations in East Cowes that will ramp up significantly, helping the Isle of Wight to ‘level up’ with the creation of employment opportunities.

Based at its primary yard in Les Sables d’Olonne, OCEA develops high-quality builds for the maritime security, passenger vessel, multipurpose workboat, transoceanic yacht and hydrographic research markets. 

Roland Joassard, CEO and founder of OCEA, says: “OCEA is expanding internationally to respond to strong demand in these markets and appreciates the new ‘Global Britain’ and refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy outlook.  Wight Shipyard Co. shares the same DNA, passion and high quality of workmanship as OCEA and its expertise in the fast ferry market complements OCEA’s qualities in other markets. Having worked with the Wight Shipyard Co. and Peter’s team in a number of ways already, we feel that they are the perfect partner to develop global orders for the fast ferry and offshore renewable energy markets.”

Both companies also have complementary expertise supporting the offshore renewable energy sector.

The merger comes on the back of the news that The Wight Shipyard Co. has secured the contract for two new ‘Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’.

Morton concludes: “For East Cowes and the Isle of Wight, this is a step change in terms of future employment and security for the outstanding team at The Wight Shipyard Co. We will be able to bring in more high-skilled shipbuilders and technicians as well as providing career pathways all through the production chain. It’s a deal that secures livelihoods and is transformational for East Cowes as the epicentre of aluminium shipbuilding in the UK.”

OCEA employs more than 500 skilled operators with further facilities in France, the Caribbean and the Philippines.

One response to “Isle of Wight shipyard signs merger deal with OCEA”

  1. Simon Hedley says:

    This is absolutely great news for Cowes and the Isle of Wight.