ClassNK to Acquire Marine Software Giant NAPA

Illustration courtesy NAPA Group
Illustration courtesy NAPA Group

Tokyo-based classification society ClassNK announced today an agreement to acquire NAPA, the world’s leading maritime software house, in a deal hailed as a landmark agreement for improved safety and performance of the whole maritime industry.

ClassNK says the deal is a chance to expand and improve the wide range of services it offers to shipowners and shipyards, while also providing NAPA with the support to accelerate expansion of existing operations and access new markets. The classification society has previously worked with NAPA for nearly ten years, the most recent of which being the development of operation optimization software in 2012, ClassNK-NAPA GREEN.

ClassNK, which provides safety and certification services for more than 8,500 vessels representing more than 20% of the world’s merchant fleet, and NAPA said the deal was a reflection of the growing importance of software technology in improving ship design and operational efficiency.

NAPA software is used by shipyards designing over 90% of the world’s newbuilds and by major ship owners. The company has its headquarters in Helsinki, Finland.

ClassNK and the majority of NAPA shareholders have signed a Share Purchase Agreement that will give ClassNK 100 % ownership of NAPA. A source at the CMA Shipping conference in Connecticut this week said that both companies will continue to operate independently.

“For both shipyards and shipowners, safety and performance have never been more important,” said Yasushi Nakamura, ClassNK Executive Vice President. “Over the many years we have worked with NAPA, we have seen first hand the incredible benefits that ship designers and operators can achieve with innovative software solutions. From our work on ClassNK NAPA Manager to our work on ClassNK-NAPA GREEN, NAPA has shown us time and again the utmost importance they place on creating high quality, innovative tools that directly contribute to the development of the maritime industry.”

In a press statement, Nakamura ensured that any innovation in software would be shared with the entire industry.

“Through this agreement we can ensure that NAPA’s ship design and operation solutions remain available to the entire maritime industry, while also providing NAPA with necessary tools and resources to further expand its innovative development work,” Nakamura added.

“After [25] years of organic growth, we see today’s announcement as a huge opportunity to continue to expand NAPA in a way that reflects the increasing demand for software design and operational solutions that we are seeing in the maritime market,” said Juha Heikinheimo, President of NAPA Group. “In partnering with ClassNK over recent years, we have found it to be an organisation that understands the important opportunity that qualitative and innovative software, and global services presents to the maritime industry. Going forward together, NAPA will develop new solutions and services for the maritime industry, whilst maintaining its neutrality and confidentiality towards all stakeholders.

“Through this acquisition, the development of clean-tech solutions for optimising fuel costs, planning and monitoring will be accelerated,” Heikinheimo added. “In addition, continuously improving software solutions to enhance the safety of both merchant and passenger vessels, both at the design phase and during operation, will remain a core focus for NAPA. ClassNK’s role as a classification society will enable us to access its industry knowledge, scope and scale, as well as benefiting from its commitment to invest in software research and development. It is this that will allow NAPA’s solutions to be more widely available to the benefit of the maritime industry as a whole.”