The Norwegian venture, described as "truly differentiated global platform", is backed by American Industrial Partners (AIP) Capital Fund VII, now the majority and controlling shareholder.
The new company, led by CEO Sverre Taknes and Executive Chairman Ole-Peter Brandal, is set to become one of the largest and most diversified aqua service vessel operators globally.
"The combined company will benefit from significant access to capital as a result of the transaction, enabling execution of ambitious growth plans on the back of increasing demand for diversified aqua services from both new and established customers globally," the partners said in a press release.
The merger aims to capitalise on synergies between AquaShip's competencies across various vessel types and Intership's innovative approaches in live fish carriers, Taknes and Brandal said.
"We are excited to partner with the AquaShip and Intership teams to support the next phase of growth and create a truly differentiated global platform in this rapidly evolving industry," said AIP Partner Alex Schukin.
"We invest in companies that are already leaders in their sectors but still have significant untapped potential. We look forward to enabling the combined company to drive further growth and technology development both organically and acquisitively."
The strategic partnership with American Industrial Partners is seen as a catalyst for growth, providing not only financial support but also expertise to navigate the evolving aqua service industry.
The two leaders expressed confidence in the new company's ability to provide high-quality services, build on customer relationships, and drive innovation in this dynamic sector.
"We believe we have a unique platform, combining AquaShip's recognized competencies across multiple vessel types and local hands-on experience in several regions with Intership's renowned expertise in live fish carriers," said Taknes.
"Together, we aim to unlock new, impactful partnerships across all regions and further enhance our already excellent service to customers," Taknes said.
"By leveraging AIP's capabilities, combined with both AquaShip's and Intership's innovative approach and diversified platform, we are confident that the combined company is well positioned for the growth journey ahead," he added.
Brandal also emphasised the benefits of the merger: "We look forward to embarking on a new journey with AIP and AquaShip and continuing our mission of delivering and even further enhancing the highest quality service to our clients," he said.
"We're convinced that our longstanding customer relationships, global footprint, pioneering technology, and dedication to serving our customers will provide a valuable platform for the path ahead. Joining forces with AIP and AquaShip marks an exciting chapter for everyone at Intership," Brandal added.
As part of the transition, London-based investment firm Alchemy, the largest shareholder in Intership, has sold its entire stake. However, AMERRA, the largest shareholder in AquaShip, will continue as a major shareholder, ensuring a seamless transition of ownership.
Financial advisory services for the merger were provided by DNB Markets for AquaShip, Arctic Securities for Intership, and Talweg Capital, which not only co-invested but also serves on the combined company's Board of Directors.
About AquaShip AS
AquaShip AS is a Norway based aquaculture service company, serving the world’s leading salmon farmers. AquaShip has a fleet of 28 vessels, consisting of live-fish carriers, utility vessels, harvest vessels, fish feed carriers and service vessels, with operations in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Chile, Canada and Shetland. AquaShip has a wide geographic footprint, long-term customer relationships, and strong technical competence within building and operating specialized maritime aqua-service vessels.
About Intership AS
Intership AS, a Norway based live fish carrier owner and operator providing best-in-class fish welfare, from transport of smolt through to grading, treatment and harvest. Intership provides its services to the world’s leading salmon farmers in Norway, Scotland, Canada, and Chile, making the company one of few operators with global operations. Intership’s fleet consists of nine modern live fish carriers, with currently two more new-builds under construction. Through a technically advanced fleet equipped with innovations and state-of-the-art systems, Intership provides safe, eco-friendly and sustainable live fish treatment and transport.
About American Industrial Partners
American Industrial Partners has deep roots in the industrial economy and currently manages over $16 billion on behalf of its limited partners. AIP is distinctively focused on industrial businesses across a broad range of end-markets that include aerospace and defense, automotive, building products, capital goods, chemicals, industrial services, industrial technology, logistics, metals & mining, and transportation, among others. AIP seeks to generate differentiated returns by working with management teams to implement comprehensive Operating Agendas to improve profitability and build long-term value. Current AIP portfolio companies generate aggregate annual revenues in excess of $28 billion and employ over 70,000 employees as of September 30, 2023.