Dutch-based dredging and marine company Boskalis has reached an agreement with Austria’s Strabag for the acquisition of the dredging activities and assets of Strabag Wasserbau, formerly known as Möbius Wasserbau.

Strabag Wasserbau, based in Hamburg, Germany, claims to be the market leader in the German dredging sector.

The company has an annual turnover of approximately €50 million. The agreed transaction price is €70 million. Boskalis said this did not include any goodwill and would be financed from the company’s own cash flow.

Strabag said that while the transaction would help Boskalis strengthen its position in the core market of Germany, the Austrian company was satisfied to be transferring the business into strategic hands.

Thomas Birtel, CEO of Strabag, said, “We have decided to sell our hydraulic engineering assets to Boskalis, which is capable of operating the business strategically. Within our group, these activities would be consigned to a niche area.”

He added that the company was especially pleased that Boskalis was also willing to employ the 238 employees of Strabag Wasserbau.

The transaction is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2016. The closing is pending approval of the supervisory board of Strabag and the competition authorities. The transaction will then become effective retroactively to 1 January, 2016.

Boskalis said that the transaction was limited to acquiring the equipment, personnel and a couple of maintenance contracts. It said the most important assets were two young shallow draft trailing suction hopper dredgers with a capacity of 7,350m3 each, a large modern backhoe dredger, and four self-propelled barges.

It said the technical specifications of the hoppers made them very attractive for port maintenance, coastal and beach replenishments projects. It said that acquiring the hopper dredgers would fulfil a requirement to renew part of the Boskalis dredging fleet in the 6,000m3 to 9,000m3 category.

As a result of the acquisition and current market conditions, Boskalis will be taking a number of ageing hoppers, cutters and backhoe dredgers out of service in the course of this year.

The Strabag group bought 70% of German hydraulic engineering specialist Josef Möbius Bau Aktiengesellschaft in September 2007. The remaining 30% was purchased in July 2011.

In 2013, Josef Möbius Bau was renamed Strabag Wasserbau.

The remaining outstanding contracts will be taken over by Boskalis or will be completed by Boskalis as a subcontractor.

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