Classification society Lloyd’s Register has acquired data software firm OneOcean from private-equity firm Equistone Partners Europe.

OneOcean provides voyage compliance, safety and environmental solutions that are used by more than 16,000 vessels, which it says increases transparency and simplifies complex regulations and tasks.

Lloyd’s Register said the deal will expand its digital fleet management and optimisation offering, which will help clients achieve more efficient, cleaner and safer operations.

Group chief executive Nick Brown said: “The acquisition of OneOcean propels Lloyd’s Register to the position of a leading digital player in the maritime industry enabling clients to make better commercial day-to-day decisions, reducing risks, improving operational efficiencies and critically meeting complex maritime regulatory requirements.”

The deal is subject to regulatory clearance and is expected to be complete within the next few months. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

OneOcean was created by the merger of ChartCo, in which Equistone first invested in 2016, and Marine Press in 2019. Over this time, it has evolved from being a product distributor to a software solutions provider.

Martin Taylor, OneOcean’s CEO, said his firm is looking forward to working with Lloyd’s Register “to create a catalyst for change in an industry that needs to adapt as rapidly as when coal replaced sails”.

“Together we have the scale, reputation and expertise — combining both digital and advisory capabilities — to meet the challenges faced by the industry,” he added.

Lloyd’s Register’s portfolio of other digital solutions includes fleet management platform Hanseaticsoft, and vessel performance and optimisation companies i4Insight, C-MAP Commercial and Greensteam.

Equistone partner Tim Swales said his firm is confident that it has found the right buyer to support OneOcean in its next phase of growth.

“This business has undergone remarkable transformation and growth over the past six years, since we first invested in ChartCo and then supported the formation of OneOcean through the merger with Marine Press,” Swales said.

“Martin and his team have built a high-quality business that is in the vanguard of the marine industry’s shift towards digital solutions, and it has been a pleasure to work with them.”

When Equistone first invested in OneOcean in June 2016, the data firm’s annual revenue was £44m ($53.8m). Employees numbered 180, according to the private-equity company’s website.

Filings made with the UK’s Companies House business register show that OneOcean’s holding company, Ensign Holdco 1 Ltd, had annual turnover of £62.7m for the financial year to 31 July 2020.

Equistone owned 69.6% of Ensign Holdco 1 Ltd as of May this year, according to the company's latest filing.

Taylor owned 9.9% of the company and the rest was split among other OneOcean Group employees and trusts.