Private equity investor Vaaka Partners has become the majority shareholder of Foreship Group. Markus Aarnio, Marcus Höglund and Mattias Jörgensen will retain their positions in Foreship after the transaction, and employee share ownership of Foreship will be 40%.
Foreship, having offices in Finland (4), Estonia (1) and the USA (2), specializes in ship design and engineering and has more than 100 full-time naval architects and marine engineering experts. The company is the market leader in cruise ship concept design, refit and ship life-cycle projects. The company offers a comprehensive range of engineering solutions to cruise ship owners such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line.
“Foreship has achieved exceptional results in establishing itself as the leading ship design and engineering company in the cruise ship and marine market and beyond. The company’s reputation as a value-adding service provider and attractive employer has also played a key role in our investment decision,” says Ilkka Pentikäinen of Vaaka Partners.
“Foreship has a good global footprint and excellent references from some of the biggest players in the cruise line and newbuilding businesses,” says Lauri Haavisto, Foreship CEO.
“The new ownership arrangement with Vaaka Partners is therefore an excellent opportunity to maintain Foreship as Foreship, while benefiting from the skills and resources of an established private equity investor. We will be better able to expand our market share globally, serve all our customers more effectively and strengthen our position in the rapidly growing cruise ship refurbishment and upgrade sector. The best way to move forward is to work with people who know how to navigate the international waters of business.”
Foreship’s new Board of Directors includes Chairman of the Board Juha Heikinheimo, a highly respected advisor to the cruise shipbuilding and marine IT industries; Jukka Laiterä, one of the founders and former CEO of Deltamarin Group; and Mikael Frisk, former Senior Vice President of HR at Fortum. Vaaka Partners’ representatives on the board will be Ilkka Pentikäinen and Petrus Blomqvist.
Vaaka Partners’ involvement allows Foreship to draw on an array of financial, business intelligence and industrial advisory expertise from a company portfolio consisting of 4,000 employees and a fund capital base approaching €500 million.
ProMan IMAP Finland advised the shareholders of Foreship throughout the sale process. We initiated the project, executed an extensive global buyer search and a competitive bidding phase. As a result, Vaaka Partners was selected as the best buyer candidate.
The transaction is ProMan IMAP Finland’s fourth marine industry transaction during 2018-2019. Foreship transaction showcases our capabilities within the business services segment and Private Equity buyout structures involving multi-level re-investment to double holding company structure.