Wilhelmsen has acquired a 21% stake in Reach Subsea ASA. This further positions Wilhelmsen in the renewable value chain along with recognizing the substantial potential in Reach’s innovative remote subsea concept.
Together, Wilhelmsen and Reach will form a strategic partnership to commercialize the Reach Remote concept, bringing Reach Subsea into new industry verticals and geographical regions.
Jan Eyvin Wang, Executive Vice President, New Energy at Wilhelmsen says, “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.”
Reach Subsea, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, offers subsea services as a subcontractor to energy clients, with its head office in Haugesund, Norway. Its core business is based on modern, high spec remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) operated by highly qualified offshore personnel and supported by onshore engineering resources. Reach has expanded into survey and data processing capabilities through the recently announced merger with iSurvey, and has also acquired Octio, a provider of monitoring solutions for carbon storage and hydrocarbon producing fields. For Q4 of 2021, Reach posted record-high annual and quarterly profits.
CEO of Reach, Jostein Alendal comments on the partnership: “We are very pleased to welcome an established industry player such as Wilhelmsen onboard as a strategic partner. Wilhelmsen has been a pioneer in driving autonomous and remote marine operations. By combining our core maritime competencies, global footprints, and wide-ranging networks, we 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.”
The Reach Remote concept, operationalised in cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime and Massterly, was launched in early 2021 with a support grant from Innovation Norway. Reach is on track 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. 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. Features for both real-time operator control and autonomous operations will be incorporated, as well as hybrid modes blending remote and semi-autonomous control.
Reach Remote will build on framework agreements already in place to position Reach as a preferred supplier of survey, inspection, and light repair services to the existing subsea market and the fast-growing offshore wind industry. Reach Remote will also be key to providing services to emerging markets, such as deep-sea mining, carbon storage, offshore aquaculture and environmental surveillance and data gathering.
“Wilhelmsen represents the ideal industrial global partner needed for Reach to scale and commercialize Reach Remote. This partnership will benefit both companies and their international customer base across sectors. On behalf of North Energy, I am pleased to welcome Wilhelmsen, who shares our strategic visions for Reach, as a new major shareholder in Reach,” said Rachid Bendriss, Chairman of Reach and co-CEO of North Energy.
Wilhelmsen has subscribed for new shares in Reach equivalent to a 21% stake, supporting the commercialisation of the Reach Remote concept. Furthermore, Wilhelmsen will be granted warrants which, if fully exercised, will potentially give Wilhelmsen a 33% ownership stake.
The election committee of Reach will propose to the annual general meeting that Espen Gjerde, Vice President Strategy and M&A in Wilhelmsen, is elected as a new board member of Reach. The proposal is supported by Reach’s major shareholder, North Energy.