Aquaculture partners promise jobs growth
TWO Highland firms that make equipment for fish farms are merging and hope the marriage will enable them to develop new products and grow the market.
Fish farm pen manufacturer Fusion Marine in Oban will become part of Inverness-based Gael Force Group next month.
They have refused to reveal the financial value of the deal.
The companies see "an excellent strategic fit" that will ensure they can combine their expertise, by jointly investing in developing new products, to provide competitive pricing and high service levels.
Gael Force managing director Stewart Graham said: "Both our companies are friends in the market and have worked together for many years. We’re delighted to have reached this agreement.
Our discussions have highlighted just how aligned we are and what a good fit both companies are for each other, and for our key customer offering.
"We look forward to welcoming Fusion Marine into the Gael Force family on completion in early April.
"Our combined expertise, experience and product range will help both Fusion and Gael Force drive growth both in the Scottish market and in our target export markets too.
"All of us at Gael Force are hugely excited by the growth opportunities this deal presents and look forward to working with our friends at Fusion Marine to grow our combined business."
Fusion Marine managing director Stephen Divers said: "It’s been very clear throughout discussions that the common values and approach to business we share with Gael Force will enable both companies to combine our strengths to invest in new innovative products and solutions for the industry – and continue to deliver the best service for our customers, in Scotland and overseas.
"Our focus is on our customers and we have great confidence that working together in the Gael Force Group we are even better positioned to deliver value to the market in support of our long standing key customers.
"Our planned investment in innovative new product development in the pens market will be an early example of that.
"We also see added benefit for customers with our combined geographical coverage, including that of our ongoing servicing out of our location in Oban."
Once completed, the deal will see Gael Force further expand and develop its capabilities in end-to-end supply and manufacture of fish farming products and services.
Currently, the company manufactures its own range of feed barges and offshore feeding system, mooring systems, underwater cameras and aquaculture technology products.
The Gael Force group, established in 1983, is a leading Scottish manufacturer and supplier of equipment, technology and services to aquaculture and other marine markets.
It comprises companies including Gael Force Engineering, Gael Force Marine Equipment, Gael Force Marine Technology and Gael Force Rentals.
Mr Graham, the group’s owner, is also currently co-chairman of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group in Scotland.
Gale Force currently employs almost 200 people across the UK, mostly based in the Highlands. It recruited more than 50 people last year.
Fusion Marine was established 1991. The company had a successful management buyout in 2007. Based at Barcaldine near Oban, it currently employs 18 people.
There is optimism that the deal will lead to a growth in employment numbers across the group.