An Angus firm which operates tug boats is set for expansion after being acquired by Forth Ports.
The entire share capital of Montrose-based Targe Towing Limited has been purchased by the major port operator.
Forth Ports, which is investing £40 million into the Port of Dundee, has not disclosed the purchase price.
A family-run company established in 1991, Targe operates several tugs – powerful boats used for towing larger vessels.
Targe owns a fleet of nine vessels, including five tugs, which operate in waters throughout the East of Scotland. It provides dedicated towage to Dundee, Aberdeen and Peterhead.
It also manages a further three tugs which operate at the Hound Point marine terminal on the Firth of Forth.
Targe set for growth
The firms believe the acquisition represents an opportunity to build on Targe’s reputation, to expand and take advantage of business opportunities in the towage and marine services area.
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said the acquisition brought several benefits.
He said: “This is an important strategic move, establishing a commercial marine services business of scale.
“We were attracted to Targe’s high standards of professionalism. Their values are similar to our own with a great management team.
“This will position us well to provide value added services for emerging markets, particularly in Dundee, like decommissioning and moves for offshore wind.
“There are great opportunities to collaborate on projects.
“Over time there will be investments. We want to give the management team the platform to grow the business.”
Targe name to be retained
Targe was founded by managing director Tom Woolley, who has more than 40 years of experience in the towage industry.
Mr Woolley and operations director Nick Dorman, who is also a Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve, will still lead the business.
Its day-to-day operations will remain the same and the Targe name will be retained.
Alasdair Smith, Forth Ports’ senior marine commercial manager, will join the Targe team in a senior position.
Targe has worked closely with Forth Ports’ towage subsidiary, Forth Estuary Towage, for a number of years.
The integration process between Forth Estuary Towage and Targe will be led by Stuart Wallace, Forth Ports’ chief operating officer.
Mr Woolley said: “We have enjoyed a close working relationship with the Forth Ports team for years.
“It’s clear that there are opportunities that we can pursue together to further develop the business.”
Targe is the longest continuous serving contractor for the Forties Pipeline System.
The Angus firm has received many awards for its work at the Hound Point marine terminal from BP and INEOS.
Forth Ports and Targe have each made significant investments in their towage assets recently.
The port operator added the Craigleith and the Inchcolm tugs to its fleet and the Kittiwake and Peterel joining Targe’s fleet.
Forth Estuary Towage and Targe Towing were working closely together again on Sunday.
They helped to ensure the safe passage of the Valaris Gorilla VI jack-up rig as it departed the Port of Dundee.