By David Robinson

A major stake in UK superyacht and commercial repair and new-build company Burgess Marine has been acquired by London-headquartered private equity investor RJD Partners (RJD). The latter has invested in an MBO, acquiring the stake of David Warren, the founder of Burgess and father of the current managing director Nicholas. RJD has committed £11m to fund the deal, as well as providing further resources for expansion through organic growth or acquisition.

Alex Hay, an RJD partner, told SB: “It is very much business as usual and we want to support the company in going forward. The strategy is the same as it has been based on organic growth and acquisition. We invest mainly in the UK service sector and we identified the UK marine engineering sector as one offering opportunities. We would like to expand nationally. Burgess’s yacht involvement we see as important and Project Nelson is an exciting and transformational project.”

Burgess, which operates from UK locations in Dover, Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Portchester, Shoreham and Avonmouth and also Palma, has been expanding its superyacht-related activities and workload over the last two years. It is currently building the 80m (263ft) Project Nelson, a classic style gentlemen’s yacht designed by Laurent Giles.

Burgess has also recently completed the refit of Shemara and signed a £100m strategic alliance with Glider Yachts, a start-up offering a range of innovative yacht designs. In addition it undertakes a large amount of commercial marine and naval repair work and projects.

RJD is investing in Burgess via a new vehicle called RJD Burgess Investment LP, backed by funds managed by F&C Private Equity and other LPs. RJD’s existing Fund II closed with final commitments of £180m and was fully invested in 2013 with five realisations to date including IPES (the funds administrations business) for £50m and a 3x return in August 2013, and Character World in December 2014 with a 2.9x return. RJD is actively pursuing other new UK investments.

Alex Hay added: “We are delighted to have completed the investment in Burgess and we very much look forward to working with Nicholas and his team to further develop Burgess into the national leader in its field. RJD has a successful track record of being the first institutional investor within family businesses and we look forward to leveraging our experience in this area to support the company’s exciting growth prospects.”

Richard Caston and Hay will be joining the board of Burgess. David Warren said: “Burgess has an excellent foundation of strong customer relationships and a reputation and proven track record for innovation and quality. We are determined to build on this over the coming years as the company grows to become the leading independent operator in the UK marine services sector. We are very pleased to have partnered with RJD in carrying out this MBO and look forward to working closely with their team in continuing the success of Burgess.”

Burgess employs 130 people and has achieved strong growth in recent years with annual turnover in excess of £25m in the year to 31 March 2014.The company plans to enhance and expand its geographic footprint and service offering, both organically and through selective acquisition.