Svitzer, the towage and salvage company in AP Moller-Maersk (APM) group of Copenhagen, sees the merger of its salvage business with Titan, which is part of the US-based Crowley group, as the best fit of strengths of both parties.
For the Danish company, it also means reaching an ambition to strengthen its footprint in wreck removal.
“We believe that the cultures of both companies are the best fit for a successful venture,” said Ralph Franjul, spokesman for Svitzer. “Our respective strengths in wreck removal and emergency response are an ideal fit for what we want the company to evolve into.”
Looking ahead, he told IHS Maritime, “We believe that there will be more consolidation and possibly some of the smaller players in the market closing shop due the slowdown in the market, a natural cycle.”
Svitzer has been strong in emergency response, while wreck removal is a special strength of Titan. Svitzer and Crowley will transfer their salvage business to a new equally owned company, which will be called Ardent. It will be headquartered in Houston and have offices in the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. It will commence business on 1 May.
“The company will become an industry leader in wreck removal and emergency response,” said Peter Pietka, CEO of Ardent and formerly CEO of Svitzer Salvage, in a statement. “Further, while remaining integral to our new company, emergency response and wreck removal will be part of a wider ecosystem of services. We have come together to build a more modern and effective offering for the maritime sector.”
“The real power and benefit for the industry of our merged business will be its capacity and ability to adapt to the changing needs of our customers,” Pietka said. “Ardent will serve as a strong platform for organic growth and new expansion opportunities in complementary businesses such as underwater services and offshore decommissioning. Structured for growth and diversification, we will create new opportunities for the company and its employees.”
Svitzer had been looking at ways to strengthen the wreck removal part of its salvage business for some time. Kaspar Nielsen, Svitzer’s head of business development, said in April last year in a presentation to journalists that Svitzer wanted to focus more on this. “We are working hard to become a serious wreck removal player,” he pointed out.