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Lloyd’s Register asset sale sharpens focus on maritime

Business Assurance & Inspection Services division to be set up as independent business, branded LRQA. It has been sold to funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Lloyd’s Register Group chief executive says transaction comes as the class society transitions to the role of an independent trusted adviser. With investment moving into sustainability, this is the right time to refocus

LLOYD’S Register said it has sold its Business Assurance & Inspection Services division, including cyber security business Nettitude, to Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

The deal, which is subject to antitrust and regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed later this year.

The move is part of a strategy that shifts the traditional classification society toward becoming an adviser to its maritime customers on compliance, performance and sustainability.

LR said the transaction will enable it to “better support its clients to respond to the regulatory, economic and societal pressures to digitalise and decarbonise within challenging time frames”.

Proceeds from the sale will allow accelerated investment in LR’s maritime service offering, both organically and through acquisitions.

Speaking to Lloyd’s List, Lloyd’s Register Group chief executive Nick Brown, said the sale marked a refocusing of the group on maritime and the broader ocean economy at a time when customers are under pressure to align their businesses with the push for decarbonisation.

“We are focusing on the sector with which our brand is most associated and where we have the deepest technical expertise,” he said. “There are some exciting opportunities out there, and we are convinced it is the right time to have that focus.”

He said the classification sector is evolving rapidly, and LR is seeking to position itself as an independent trusted advisor for customers wanting to know how to invest in the industry in the future.

“Ultimately,” Mr Brown said, “it depends on us understanding our customers’ business strategy and their expectations. In the past we would have been talking to the fleet manager or the technical director.

“Now these conversations are taking place at chief executive and board level. So, in addition to class matters, we need to be looking much more around risk and advisory services and professional services.”

Under its new ownership, Lloyd’s Register’s Business Assurance & Inspection Services division will adopt the brand name LRQA to reflect its 35 years of expertise and heritage in the assurance market.

Paul Butcher, who has led the growth of the Business Assurance & Inspection Services division within LR for the past three years, will become LRQA chief executive.

He said it was the right time for it to become a fully independent business.

“This transaction will provide the additional focus we need to accelerate our ambition of becoming a leading digitally enabled assurance provider, at a time when our customers face an increasingly challenging operating landscape.”

Mr Butcher said the new ownership structure “would help to strengthen the business’s first mover advantage in digital and capitalise on increasing demand for assurance, inspection and cyber security services”.

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