Vigor acquisition and merger completed

Global investment firm The Carlyle Group and private equity firm Stellex Capital Management announced yesterday it had completed the acquisition and merger of shipbuilder Vigor Industrial LLC, Portland, Ore., and MHI Holdings LLC, a ship repair and maintenance company based in Norfolk, Va. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In addition, Carlyle and Stellex said that Jim Marcotuli has been named CEO of the newly created company comprising Vigor and MHI.

Marcotuli has served in a number of executive and operating roles with Carlyle portfolio companies, in industries including defense, aerospace, transportation, and automotive. He previously served as the interim chairman and CEO of Remington Outdoor Co. and prior to that served as CEO of North American Bus Industries (NABI). He has held board seats and senior positions in various manufacturing companies predominately in the aerospace and automotive industries.

“Vigor and MHI have tremendous potential for growth and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the new company,” Marcotuli said in a statement. “I am eager to engage with the employees who have made these companies what they are today, and to work with the team to create sustainable value for our customers.”

Frank Foti, Vigor’s founding CEO and prior majority owner, has stepped out of his role as CEO of Vigor while remaining an investor in the new parent company and serving as its vice vhairman of the board of directors. Tom Epley will continue to lead MHI Ship Repair & Services LLC and MHI Holdings and will report to Marcotuli.

The merger creates a bicoastal company involved in ship repair services and commercial and defense-related fabrication services. Key customers include the Navy, Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, Boeing, cruise lines, fishing fleets, barges and ferry services, and other key commercial and defense customers.

The Carlyle Group is the majority owner of the combined company. Equity for the investment came from the Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity Fund II, a $2.4 billion fund that focuses on middle-market and growth companies in the U.S. and Canada. As part of the transaction, Stellex Capital, MHI’s previous owner, contributed new equity to the platform, while Foti rolled a portion of his Vigor ownership stake into the combined company.

Vigor is a provider of vessel fabrication and ship repair services. It employs 2,300 people and operates eight drydocks across the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, including the largest floating drydock in North America. No word on how many of these people will be retained by the new company, although when the sale was announced in July, Vigor said that no layoffs were expected. MHI Ship Repair has 800 employees.

“Through this transaction, Vigor gains responsible, forward thinking investors who will seek to build on our current platform while maintaining a values-driven culture,” Foti said in a statement when the sale was announced. “This evolution takes us where we want to go, growing sustainable jobs into the future. I’m excited to be an investor in this adventure and to be a part of what’s to come.”

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