Marlink, the commercial satellite communication division of Airbus Defence and Space has been re-branded, with its reacquisition by former owner Apax Partners pending regulatory approval in France.

With its impending departure from the Airbus Defence and Space umbrella, Marlink has chosen now to reinvent itself for the commercial maritime sector, and was present at an exclusive London launch event to learn more from newly installed CEO, Eric Ceuppens and president, Tore Morten Olsen.

The company has divided its operations into land- and maritime-based operations, with the latter categorised into Shipping, Offshore, Oil & Gas, Cruise & Ferry, Yachting and Fishing. Ceuppens called this a “new revolution”, spearheaded by greater remote monitoring and control demands, and the fact that, in 2016, there is, on average, 10 times the number of devices to people on board a vessel. “Satcoms”, declared Ceuppens, “will be the key enabler of the digital society.”

Newly appointed CEO, Eric Ceuppens.

With ‘a 25 per cent share of the global maritime market’, Ceuppens declared Marlink the “largest independent satcom services provider”, despite its relatively inconspicuous profile within the superyacht industry.

This is however, part of a strategy that positions Marlink as the provider of the back-end infrastructure, while its network of partners customise the solutions to the bespoke needs of the owner. “You don’t see us as much [in yachting]”, explained Olsen. “But we have people on the dock in every port [superyachts] visit.”

 Tore Morten Olsen has assumed the role of President.

Moving forward, and for the purposes of simplifying what both men acknowledged as a confused industry message, Sealink will become the sole Marlink product. However, superyacht owners will still receive this product via the industry’s recognised intermediaries. Ceuppens said there was “a lot of demand piling up in [the superyacht] market through Marlink’s partners”, and because of its esoteric nature, it requires a complementary collaboration between the back- and front-ends.

Marlink will continue to entrust its major yachting partners with tailoring on board solutions to the bespoke requirements of clients.

“’Flexibility’ is the key word in this market”, Olsen stressed. “If we can be smartest in ensuring the client can access content…that’s best for our partnership philosophy, as opposed to other acquisition philosophies.”


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Airbus Defence and Space

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