Wilhelmsen has acquired a 21% stake in Reach Subsea ASA, and together the firms 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.”
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 remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). 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.
Jostein Alendal, CEO of Reach, said, “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, operationalized 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 centers and communication modules for underwater ROVs, with the USVs operated from Massterly’s onshore control centers. Features for both real-time operator control and autonomous operations will be incorporated, as well as hybrid modes blending remote and semi-autonomous control.
Wilhelmsen has subscribed for new shares in Reach equivalent to a 21% stake, supporting the commercialization 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.