Forth Ports in multi-million tugboat takeover

Forth Ports has acquired Angus tug firm Targe in a multi-million pound deal to create a marine services business “of scale” along the east coast of Scotland.

Set up in 1991, Targe employs 90 people and was previously owned by the family of managing director Tom Woolley. Edinburgh-based Forth Ports has acquired the entire share capital of Targe for an undisclosed multi-million sum.

Based in Montrose, Targe owns nine vessels, including five tugs providing dedicated towage in Dundee, Aberdeen and Peterhead. It is also contracted to run three further tugs at the Hound Point marine terminal on the Firth of Forth.

Forth Ports has a fleet of 10, including four tugs.

Day-to-day operations at Targe will remain unchanged, with Mr Woolley and operations director Nick Dorman continuing to lead the business. They will be joined by Alasdair Smith, Forth Ports’ senior marine commercial manager, while the integration and collaboration between Targe and Forth Estuary Towing will be led by Forth Ports chief operating officer Stuart Wallace.

The Targe name will be retained.

Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond said his group’s towing fleet has been working with that of Targe on projects for a number of years, the most recent being the safe passage of the Valaris Gorilla VI jack-up rig that departed the Port of Dundee this past weekend.

“It is a good logical move for us,” he said. “Targe is an extremely well-run, professional business, and we are delighted to be the new owners.”

The aim now, he said, is to create a marine services business “of scale” along the east coast, with the longer-term prospect of expanding further afield.

“I am confident that, as part of Forth Ports, Targe will develop and grow at an even faster pace,” Mr Hammond added.

Mr Woolley said: “We have enjoyed a close working relationship with the Forth Ports team for years and it’s clear that there are opportunities that we can pursue together to further develop the business.”

Targe has received several awards for its work at the Hound Point marine terminal from BP and Ineos, both of which are major customers of Targe and Forth Ports. Both companies have recently made significant investments in their towage assets, with Forth Ports adding the Craigleith and Inchcolm tugs, and the Kittiwake and Peterel joining the Targe fleet.

source: The Herald