Braving new waters
Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace firm, has acquired a majority stake in Nautic Africa, one of the continent’s leading specialist shipbuilders, in a move that gives Paramount a key strategic maritime presence.
The deal comes in the midst of a growing need to protect and secure Africa’s coastlines, great lakes and rivers, as well as political and economic assets – including oil pipelines, shipping lanes, tourist areas and national borders.
“Nautic’s modern high-speed vessels are not only vital strategic and logistical assets for African countries – they are key tools for solving security challenges that are shared by much of Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East,” explains Ivor Ichikowitz, executive chairman of Paramount Group.
Nautic Africa offers customised vessel solutions – specialising in high-speed, ballistic-protected aluminium patrol vessels ranging from nine to 90 m. The speed, flexibility and multi-purpose capability of the company’s vessels means that they are ideal for operations providing oil and gas security and anti-piracy protection. They are also vital tools against illegal drug and people trafficking.
But the joint venture isn’t only about crime fighting, as Ichikowitz points out: “The emergence of Africa as an increasingly important global economic power has provided the shipbuilding industry in Africa with a huge opportunity to increase our production, boost our industrial growth and invest in new skills and jobs.”
Ichikowitz points out: “Paramount is committed to the development of the South African shipbuilding industry, and to putting Africans at the heart of it.” He adds that: “African states should not have to look to the United States, Europe and Asia for their naval requirements. The skills, capacity and spirit of innovation are all right here.”
And this deal will have other benefits, as Ichikowitz explains: “By combining Paramount Group’s global market reach and strong track record in Africa with the engineering and design skills of Nautic Africa, we will stimulate global demand for Africa’s naval solutions.”
It is easy to believe this if you look at what this joint venture has to offer … the two companies are developing a first-of-its-kind 42 m Trimaran patrol vessel in direct response to the need for a highly efficient, seaworthy, multi-role working platform. This is the first time that such a vessel is being designed and built in South Africa.
James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa, concludes: “We are driven to create and build customised vessel solutions that our clients can afford to own and operate. Nautic has always shared Paramount’s solutions-based approach and the acquisition will undoubtedly unleash many exciting new opportunities.”