Birketts advises on the sale of Gardline Holdings Ltd to Boskalis Holdings BV


18 August 2017

Leading law firm Birketts has advised the shareholders of Gardline Holdings Ltd on its sale to Dutch maritime services firm Boskalis Holdings BV.

The Gardline Group, a family-owned, Norfolk-based company, has been sold by its shareholders for over £30m plus some deferred consideration conditional on certain future events. In addition, Birketts advised on the hiving out of some of the businesses from the Gardline Group to the sellers (or entities controlled by the sellers), including Howards estate agency and Lankelma.

Gardline, which had its headquarters in Great Yarmouth was founded in 1969 and was a second-generation family-owned business specialising in marine geophysical surveys, offshore geotechnical services and environmental surveys. The firm also had further activities in the USA, Brazil and Singapore and employed about 750 employees including a pool of 100 surveyors and operated a fleet of 40 vessels, including 15 survey-related ships and 25 smaller vessels.

Birketts advised on all legal matters which included support from tax, property and employment. Adrian Possener, Partner, and Ed Savory, Legal Director in Birketts' Corporate Team, co-led the multi-disciplinary team, with assistance from Arwa SalmanKarl Pocock, Andrew Ridout and Mat Newnham.

Gregory Darling (now ex Chairman – Gardline Group), said: “This was a simultaneously multiple transaction as there were several activities to deal with including the extraction of some businesses and careful negotiation of on-going responsibilities. The global nature of the business required some added mental gymnastics. The exiting shareholders would like to thank Adrian Possener and Ed Savory and the rest of the Birketts team for their careful and calm approach in bringing this to  a satisfactory closure.”

Ed Savory, Legal Director in Birketts' Corporate Team, added: “This has been a challenging transaction but we are pleased to have secured the sale of this fantastic, international family-owned business. It has been a pleasure to advise the Darling family and I look forward to watching the business that they built continue to thrive. With the acquisition of Gardline, Royal Boskalis Westminster has fulfilled its strategic ambition to bolster its presence in the offshore survey market.”