Ellicott Dredges acquired by Markel Ventures

Therese Dunphy

December 2, 2009

On the eve of the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1885, Ellicott Dredge Enterprises, LLC,   announced that Markel Ventures, a subsidiary of Markel Corp.,  has acquired a majority interest in the company. Terms were not disclosed. Markel Ventures is based in Richmond, Va.,and is pursuing an investment strategy of buying controlling interests in companies with leading market positions and strong management teams and holding those interests for the long term.

“This is an excellent fit for us at Ellicott,” said Peter Bowe, president of Ellicott. “We intend to continue our growth both organically and through acquisitions, as we have in the past. Markel will be a good long-term partner in our infrastructure-oriented businesses.”

As part of the transaction, BB&T Bank extended an expanded working capital line to Ellicott, which has no debt on its balance sheet.

Ellicott will continue to develop its portfolio of niche dredger brands:

  • Ellicott, in portable cutter suction dredges;
  • IMS, in self-propelled canal and marina sediment solutions;
  • Liquid Waste Technology (LWT), for waste water treatment plant sludge management solutions; and
  • Mud Cat, in pond and lake dredging, and environmental clean-ups.


“We are looking forward to Ellicott’s second 125 years of growth, now as part of the Markel family,” said Tom Gayner, chief investment officer of Markel and president of Markel Ventures.

Bowe, Chief Operating Officer Marty Barnes, and the rest of the Ellicott management team will continue in leadership roles at the company. Gayner and Michael Heaton, a Markel Ventures senior director, will join Ellicott’s board. Ellicott headquarters will remain in Baltimore Md.

All previous Ellicott shareholders remain investors in the business.

In other news, Ellicott also announced that Ernst & Young inducted Peter Bowe into its Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Palm Desert, Calif., on Nov. 13.

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