Cathelco, a UK manufacturer of watermakers and other marine equipment, has acquired Hydro-Electrique Marine (HEM) for an undisclosed sum.

HEM is a French specialist in desalinators and water treatment systems. The acquisition will make Cathelco one of the largest producers of shipboard water treatment systems in Europe, it claims, and the premier supplier to the superyacht industry.

“The new venture will operate under the name of Cathelco HEM, emphasising the strength of two well-known brand names and creating a stronger presence in the water treatment market,” says Cathelco MD Justin Salisbury.

Manufacture of the HEM equipment will continue at the company’s premises near Antibes in the south of France. This will also provide Cathelco with a technical support and stockholding hub in the Mediterranean.

Cathelco acquired Seafresh Desalinators in 2010, transforming the small UK company into an international exporter of watermakers.

Cathelco Seafresh desalinators have a maximum output of 35 tonnes per day, whereas the HEM range have outputs of up to 150 tonnes, making them suitable for use on large commercial vessels and naval craft.

“The HEM range greatly increases the scope for desalinator sales and provides a good fit with our existing range,” says Salisbury.

Cathelco says it’s now in a position where they can provide treatment systems for virtually all types of seawater used on vessels.

In the commercial shipping sector, HEM’s customers are mainly smaller and medium workboats such as tugs, support vessels and personnel transfer vessels.

In the superyacht market they have long standing relationships with most of the leading European yards and have supplied systems yachts such as A, Air, Azzam, Dilbar, Eclipse, Limitless, Octopus, Pelorus, Rainbow Warrior III, Venus and more.

Ingemar Grip, one of the founders of HEM, will remain at the helm of the business as president.

Cathelco was founded in 1956 and has grown to be one of the UK’s most dynamic manufacturers of marine equipment through product innovation and diversification.

“The HEM equipment is a natural extension to our product range,” says Salisbury. “It will enable us to provide a complete equipment package for commercial vessels and superyachts which we can support through our combined network of agent/installers.”