Austal USA Plans Expansion

Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Press Register has reported that Austal USA revealed a multimillion-dollar expansion plan that includes adding a pair of 18,000-square-foot buildings at its site on the Mobile River and finding land on which to build a new facility. The company plans to add its first two-story building just north of its most northern shed, planning office space on top and shipbuilding space on the bottom. Bids on that job have been returned, and Austal plans to select a contractor for the project -- valued at between $2 million and $3 million -- in the next few days, said Bill Pfister, vice president of government programs.

The company hopes to accept a bid for the second, similar building by December or January. It will be located just south of Austal's smaller shed. Austal is also scouting sites in and near Mobile for a new facility, he said.

Austal hopes to start work on the new facility before the middle of 2007. Pfister said he cannot yet put a price tag on that project, which will allow Austal to expand its production of modular ship components. The expansion is being driven by what the company touts as an increasing demand for a new class of shore-hugging warships for the U.S. Navy.

Austal USA is the shipbuilder for a contracting team led by General Dynamics that is building one LCS prototype in Mobile and expects to receive an order for another by Dec. 31.

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