Cardiff-based Idwal Marine Services, a leading provider of tech-enabled inspection services for the global commercial shipping sector, has secured a significant investment from private equity partner LDC to support the development of its business and expand its global footprint.
Idwal provides specialist asset condition and integrity inspection services, fleet monitoring and data services for customers across the marine industry. It employs 55 people at its head office in the city’s Caspian Point, in addition to a number of remote workers throughout the UK and internationally in Greece, China and Japan.
The business was originally founded as a division of Cardiff-based Graig Shipping PLC (“Graig”) in 2010. With its investment and support, Idwal has grown quickly under CEO Nick Owens due to increased demand from its global customers and its focus on consistency, integrity and data-led inspections.
The business, a certified carbon neutral organisation, was the first in its industry to include both decarbonisation metrics and crew welfare and working condition data in their reports. It is also focused on the provision of advanced environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting to ensure that its customers are meeting increasingly stringent sector wide environmental reporting requirements.
With LDC’s support, Idwal’s management team will further develop the platform, data and service provision and expand its network of overseas offices, which already includes China, Greece and Japan.
Graig was originally founded over 100 years ago by Idwal Williams in the heart of the city’s commercial and shipping district. Today, it is one of the UK’s leading global shipping groups, specialising in structuring, advising and leading investments in services and shipping assets in the international marine market. The company said Idwal was a further example of the group’s successful track-record of developing “best in class” marine based business innovations and ventures.
Graig said it was already “well-advanced” in its next maritime venture to bring to the market high quality, environmentally friendly Service Operation Vessels for the rapidly growing global offshore wind and renewables sector, working with its global partners.
LDC’s investment was led by Dewi Hughes, Oliver Schofield and James Garland from its Wales & South West team.
Nick Owens, CEO of Idwal, said:
“This is the ideal outcome for both Idwal and Graig, as well as our customers and colleagues. As an independent company with the support of LDC, Idwal is strongly positioned to increase investment in its services and its international presence.”
Commenting on its partnership, he added:
“The LDC team were exactly what we were looking for. Their local presence and successful track record in helping technology businesses develop and scale made them the ideal partner to support our growth plans.
“Looking ahead, we’re really excited about the opportunity to now expand our global presence and fly the flag for Wales on the international maritime stage.”
Hugh Williams, CEO of Graig, said:
“Idwal has grown from a new service to a genuine leader in its field with significant potential. For us, this was an intentional next step for Idwal and is part of Graig’s strategy to refocus the business on its core shipping investments within the fast-growing offshore renewables sector. We look forward to continuing to partner with Idwal in our markets.”
Dewi Hughes, Partner and Head of LDC’s Wales & South West team, said:
“Nick and the team have successfully built Idwal into a globally respected business with a reputation for sustainable and innovative services in an evolving marketplace. Now, with the opportunity to further develop its technology platform and further penetrate overseas markets, they will be able to fulfil their ambition to make Idwal the global leader and the Idwal Grade the pre-eminent standard in the international commercial shipping market.”
As part of the investment, Gehan Talwatte and Simon Morse will join the Board as Non-Executive Chairman and Non-Executive Director respectively. Both are successful private equity non-executives and their experiences span data, marine services and global growth businesses.
LDC was advised by KPMG (corporate finance), Blake Morgan (legals), OC&C (commercial due diligence), BDO (financial due diligence) and EY (tax). The management team was advised by Lexington (finance) and Capital Law (legals). Graig was advised by Stout (corporate finance) and Taylor Wessing (legals).