March 29, 2010 / 9:04 AM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX-The world's biggest dredging companies

AMSTERDAM, March 29 (Reuters) - Royal Boskalis Westminster (BOSN.AS), the world’s largest dredger, has clinched a 1.15 billion euro ($1.55 billion) takeover of Smit SMTNc.AS, one of the world’s largest marine salvage firms. [ID:nLDE62Q06Q]

Dredgers are at the heart of global economic activity, from expanding ports to cater for more trade, and servicing oil and gas maritime infrastructure, to reclaiming land for coastal defence and real estate development.

Here are the world’s largest dredgers by capacity:

ROYAL BOSKALIS WESTMINSTER (BOSN.AS)

The world’s largest dredging firm celebrates its 100th anniversary as it takes over maritime services provider Smit Internationale.

Founded in 1910 in Sliedrecht, the birthplace of the Dutch dredging industry, by a group of Dutch families, Boskalis now boasts a fleet of over 300 vessels and is active in over 50 countries across five continents.

The company’s core strength is in dredging & earthmoving, though it is trying to diversify more into maritime services.

CHINA HARBOUR ENGINEERING COMPANY (CHEC)

Founded in 1980, CHEC merged with China Road and Bridge to create China Communications Construction Company (1800.HK) in 2005.

It is China’s largest international contractor and the second-largest dredging company in the world. CHEC focuses on basic infrastructure, such as marine engineering, dredging and reclamation.

CHEC has been involved in most of the major dredging and reclamation works along China’s coastline, while most of its projects have been in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

VAN OORD

Owned by the Dutch Van Oord family, builder royal BAM (BAMN.AS) and investment firm NPM Capital, Van Oord owns 200 vessels and has 20 offices around the world.

Since it was established 1868, it has worked on some of the world’s biggest dredging projects, including creating an island in the form of the world map in Dubai and building an artificial island in Gibraltar, south of Spain.

DEME

Jointly owned by holding company Ackermans & van Haaren (ACKB.BR) and Vinci (SGEF.PA)-controlled contractor CFE (CFEB.BR), Belgian dredger DEME has a fleet of 300 vessels, over 80 of which are dredging and hydraulic engineering vessels.

Although it was established in 1991, DEME’s roots in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium, go back much further, with one of its constituent companies, Baggerwerken Decloedt, active in maintenance and capital dredging along the Belgian coast since 1875.

DEME has developed many proprietary technologies and methods, including DRACULA, an acronym for “Dredging, And Cutting Using Liquid Action”, which the company says has resulted in improved efficiencies on trailing suction hopper and cutter section dredgers of up to 20 percent.

JAN DE NUL

Belgian family owned company Jan De Nul started off in 1938 as a civil works contractor before expanding into dredging in 1951.

About two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from the Middle East and dredging accounts for 90 percent of the company’s turnover. The company also specialises in the oil and gas services industry, with purpose-built vessels.

Sources: Company websites, International Association of Dredging Companies (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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