London-based valuation platform VesselsValue is beefing up its research capacity with a takeover of Norway's ViaMar.
The acquisition of the Oslo-based company will see the team of four full-time analysts and additional consultants increase rapidly in the coming year.
ViaMar provides freight earnings and ship value forecasts and has "proprietary fundamental models" for the LPG, tanker, bulker and container ship sectors, VesselsValue said.
Supporting advisory work is provided alongside this to give extra insights into market drivers.
"This will continue to be provided while at the same time they will work collaboratively with the VesselsValue teams to expand the forecasting, data, analysis and advisory products that we offer," VesselsValue told TradeWinds.
ViaMar's customers include the biggest LPG operators, leading bulker and tanker owners, commodity houses and national oil companies.
"We expect that … staff numbers will more than double over the next year, with increased growth following that," VesselsValue added.
The platform is not revealing financial details of the takeover.
Tom Evans, VesselsValue's chief operating officer, said he is delighted to welcome ViaMar and its clients into the family.
A strong base
"This acquisition provides VesselsValue a strong base on which to develop our forecasting ambitions both in shipping and aviation," he added.
"We are pleased to now have an office in Oslo from which we can provide improved levels of insight and service to all clients in the Nordics," Evans said.
ViaMar's managing director Reidar Sundvor explained that ViaMar has been cooperating with VesselsValue successfully for more than six years with a growing number of shared clients and synergies.
The two companies produce joint quarterly forecasts on major shipping markets.
"This next step is very positive: the amalgamation of ViaMar’s experience and forecasting capabilities with VesselsValue’s powerful digitalisation and research capacity we hope will firmly place us centre stage," Sundvor said.
"Automated data feeds and cleaned AIS continues to reshape shipping analysis, and ultimately this data with new tools will enable us to offer broader, quicker and better insights for our clients," he added.
"Cleaned" AIS data refers to raw information that needs to be corrected and calibrated by automated processes and manual checks.
Vastly experienced team
ViaMar's staff have more than 100 years of shipping experience between them.
"This brings great insight to their analysis and models having lived through multiple market highs and lows," VesselsValue added.
ViaMar has been privately owned since being set up in 1996 by Sundvor and the late Even Engelstad, a leading shipping analyst and professor at Oslo Business School.
Robert Stenvik joined ViaMar in 1999. Both he and Sundvor worked previously at Norwegian shipbroker RS Platou, now part of Clarksons in the UK.
Stenvik was an analyst there for many years, and Sundvor was a sale-and-purchase and chartering broker.
Sundvor later worked for 10 years in shipowning with the public companies Laboremus and Kvaerner, specialising in LPG and petrochemical gases.
He will remain managing director of the Oslo office running day-to-day operations.
Under the new ownership structure, ViaMar will be able to leverage VesselsValue’s mathematical modelling, technical development, data-processing abilities and tech infrastructure to further improve its models and the data which drives them.
ViaMar has about 60 clients in energy and financial markets as well as shipping.
There are particularly strong relationships with major banks and investment funds, operators and traders, ViaMar says.
The company is focused mainly on northern European and Scandinavian centres.
VesselsValue has over 200 full-time staff across eight offices globally in the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Manila, with new team members being added regularly.