International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

In early January Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) announced a ‘heads of agreement’ with STRABAG SE for the acquisition of the dredging activities and assets of STRABAG Wasserbau GmbH formerly known as Möbius Wasserbau. STRABAG Wasserbau based in Hamburg Germany is the market leader in the German dredging sector. The company has an annual turnover of approximately €£50 million ($55 million) with a broad array of equipment. By April 4 the Boskalis’ acquisition of the dredging activities and assets of STRABAG Wasserbau GmbH was concluded for the agreed transaction price of €£70 million ($78 million). This does not include any goodwill and has been financed entirely from Boskalis’s own cash flow.

The transaction is limited to acquiring equipment personnel and a few maintenance contracts. According to STRABAG Boskalis’ willingness to retain almost 240 employees was an essential part of the sale. Among the assets being transferred are two recently built shallow draft trailing suction hopper dredges each with a capacity of 7350 cubic meters (9613 cubic yards) a large modern backhoe dredge and four self-propelled barges. One of the trailing suction hopper dredgers is the Eke Mobius built in 2012. The technical specifications of the hoppers makes them attractive for port maintenance and coastal and beach replenishments projects. 

Through this acquisition Boskalis strengthens its “home market” position in Germany where it recently acquired a contract together with Züblin AG from the Bremen Port Authority for the construction of a transshipment terminal for the offshore wind sector in Bremerhaven. Boskalis’ share of the Bremen contract carries a value of more than €35 million ($38.5 million). The dredging of three million cubic meters (392200 cubic yards) of sand by a medium-sized trailing suction hopper dredge forms part of the activities that are expected to commence at the end of 2016. The job will take two years.

Furthermore by acquiring the trailing suction hopper dredges the need to renew part of the Boskalis dredging fleet in the 6000 to 9000 cubic meters (7847 to 11770 cubic yards) range will be met. In view of this acquisition and current market conditions Boskalis will be retiring a number of ageing hoppers cutters and backhoe dredges in the course of 2016. The company is presently conducting a study to determine which dredges will be taken from service.