GMT Communications Partners backs Seagull in MBO

GMT Communications Partners, a European media and communications focused private equity group, has teamed up with the management and founding chairman to invest in Seagull, a provider of computer based training systems and e-learning for seafarers worldwide. The business was founded in 1996 by its chairman, Oscar Johansen, a long term maritime industry executive, and financial partner Bjørn L.G. Braathen.

PRESS RELEASE

GMT Communications Partners (“GMT”), the European media and communications focused private equity group, is delighted to announce that it has teamed up with the management and founding Chairman to invest in Seagull AS (“Seagull”), the leading provider of computer based training systems and e-learning for seafarers worldwide.
Founded in 1996 by its Chairman, Oscar Johansen, a long term maritime industry executive, and financial partner Bjørn L.G. Braathen, Seagull offers a comprehensive library of training and on-board courses for regulatory, compliance and improved seafarer knowledge, in line with the requirements of the key global seafarer regulatory bodies.
This transaction sees GMT, alongside Oscar Johansen and Roger Ringstad, Seagull’s Managing Director, acquiring the shareholdings of certain of Seagull’s existing shareholders, enabling Seagull to increase investment in product development, sales and marketing and support for its customers.
Seagull has developed a state of the art training system and comprehensive library of training modules for use on-board vessels, in offices and maritime colleges, as well as online. Seagull’s customers include many leading shipping companies and the system is in use today at more than 8,000 locations, the majority of which are seagoing vessels. The training systems include performance management and assessment solutions that are managed and hosted by Seagull, which enable shipping companies to meet and exceed Standards of Training, Certifications and Watchkeeping (STCW) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards.
Seagull operates in a growing sector of the maritime services market. Increasing levels of regulation, together with a shortage of experienced and trained seafarers has meant that crewing and manpower related services have become critical. In a challenging economic environment, computer based training offers a cost and time-effective way of delivering ongoing crew training requirements and demonstrating compliance across multiple skills areas for multiple crew members.
Seagull prides itself on understanding the unique challenges facing shipping companies today and its 104 employees around the world include many experienced ship officers. The company has its headquarters in Norway, with offices in Germany, Greece, Japan, Poland, Singapore and the UK, enabling it to support a global customer base.
Natalie Tydeman, Partner at GMT, who will join the Board of the Company following the transaction, said:
“We are excited to join Oscar and Roger as shareholders in Seagull. Seagull is led by an excellent management team and is highly regarded within an industry where the importance of training and certification continues to increase. We have together developed an exciting plan to extend investment in training content and customer support, and to continue to grow the business within shipping and other specialist sectors.”
Oscar Johansen, Chairman of Seagull, commented:
“We are delighted to have found an investor with the skills, experience and financial resources required to help us take Seagull to the next stage of its growth. GMT’s access to international networks, expertise and support in the coming years will allow us to continue to develop our market-leading technology platform and focus on our commitment to service excellence. By combining our resources we will be able to ramp up our product development, sales and marketing and world-wide support for our clients.”

Contact for GMT
Equus: GMT:
Contact for Seagull
Oscar Johansen Roger Ringstad
Notes to editors:
Piers Hooper / Sam Barton Natalie Tydeman / Vikram Krishna
Chairman Managing Director
+44 20 7223 1100 +44 20 7292 9333
+47 33 03 09 10 +47 33 03 09 10
GMT Communications Partners is a European independent private equity group focused exclusively on the media, information, entertainment and telecommunications industries, having actively invested in the European marketplace for the past 19 years. As industry practitioners, GMT focuses heavily on developing new strategic directions for established businesses that are able to benefit from new communication technologies. Since its foundation in 1993, GMT has invested in 31 companies and completed over 60 bolt-on transactions across 19 countries, exclusively in European media/communications.
Seagull AS is the leading provider of computer based training systems for seafarers worldwide and offers a comprehensive library of training and on-board courses for regulatory compliance and improved seafarer knowledge. Founded in 1996 by experienced mariners and grown into a dynamic company in partnership with leading shipping companies to deliver a full range of assessment and management tools that ensure meeting and exceeding STCW and IMO standards. Seagull understands the unique challenges facing shipping companies today and is committed to leading the maritime world in providing training solutions for seafarers. Seagull’s solutions have been delivered to over 8,000 ships and office installations around the world.