Navigation Company ChartCo Acquired by British Private Investment Firm

A screengrab of ChartCo's PassageManager product. Credit: ChartCo
A screengrab of ChartCo’s PassageManager product. Credit: ChartCo

British private equity firm Equistone Partners is buying marine navigation service ChartCo from fellow fund ECI for 55 million pounds ($79.43 million), the companies said on Friday.

London-headquartered ChartCo began making charts for the Royal Navy more than 250 years ago and now provides data to over 12,000 vessels worldwide, from super-yachts to freight ships. It is the world’s largest provider of navigational data and nautical charts.

ChartCo is part of the maritime navigation systems company Kelvin Hughes, which is in turn backed by ECI. Last year ChartCo had revenue of over 40 million pounds.

ChartCO says the investment will allow the company to fund the growth of its digital products such as its ship-board data platform PassageManager.

“ChartCo has achieved significant growth in recent years as the market leader in commercial marine navigation and compliance solutions,” said Martin Taylor, Managing Director of ChartCo. “We are immensely proud of what we have achieved and are tremendously excited about having Equistone’s support to further develop the business to realise its full potential. Commercial shipping is currently going through considerable change and we are working with our customers to increase their efficiency at a time when they are being mandated to use digital navigation. The technical and commercial barriers to satellite communication are significantly reducing and this allows ChartCo to provide innovative services which reduce costs, increase efficiency and simplify compliance with ever growing maritime regulations. This investment from Equistone will really allow us to push the barriers of change.”

Equistone was formed in 2011 following a management buyout of Barclays Private Equity. Tim Swales, Partner at Equistone, said ChartCo would continue to grow organically and through acquisitions. ($1 = 0.6925 pounds)

Reuters’ Freya Berry and David Evans contributed to this article