Signal International Inc. announced the purchase of the Bender Shipbuilding & Repair assets through a bankruptcy auction. Signal was the winning bidder of the Mobile, Ala. shipyard for $31.2m which is contingent upon approval by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama.
“This purchase is consistent with diversifying the company while continuing the focus on our core competency in the overhaul, repair and upgrade of offshore drilling rigs,” said Dick Marler, Signal’s president and chief executive officer. According to Marler, Signal plans to make an additional investment of about $5m on upgrades and repairs, and increase employment to 400 to 500 within 18 months.
After closing, which is slated for end of January 2010, the company will begin operations as Signal Ship Repair (SSR). The new division will bring another dimension to the Signal International portfolio as it adds the capability to build, overhaul, and repair ships and maritime vessels.
The asset purchase includes 3,300 feet of deepwater frontage, six repair/construction yards, three steel floating dry docks and other equipment on 26 acres. As SSR, the new operation will remain focused on vessel overhaul and repair adopting many of the policies and procedures that have made Signal International a success. This is particularly true in the areas of safety, quality, and workmanship.
Signal recently invested over $33.5m in their continuous flow manufacturing and heavy fabrication facility located in Orange, Texas. The yard has nearly 500,000 sq ft of covered fabrication and building production.
Most recently, Signal’s Orange yard has completed the Signet Atlas which is one of the first heavy-duty deck barges 100 x 300 ft with a 5,000 pounds per square foot deck strength. In addition to large ocean going rugged barges, Signal is also competing for modular construction projects, offshore floating platforms, tug boats and similar opportunities.
Morgan Keegan & Company which provides merger and acquisition advisory to public and private middle-market companies, acted as Signal’s financial advisor in the transaction.