Americraft Marine, a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has acquired St. Johns Ship Building.
Based in Palatka, Fla., near Jacksonville, St. Johns Ship Building builds and repairs a wide variety of steel and aluminum vessels, including ferries, tugs, deck and tank barges, landing crafts, and general cargo vessels. It is also one of the few U.S. shipyards that builds vessels that support and service offshore wind farms, company officials said.
Americraft's parent company Libra Group, is a privately-owned international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries.
The purchase of St. Johns comes at a time of significant need for Jones Act-compliant vessels, company officials said.
The acquisition leverages the proven capabilities of St. Johns Ship Building in constructing offshore wind service vessels, along with Libra Group’s global experience in renewable energy and deep maritime heritage, the company said.
With facilities including a storm-protected 100-acre inland campus with a 850-ton floating drydock, St. Johns Ship Building is positioned to accelerate production of Jones Act-compliant vessels, particularly the construction and maintenance of offshore wind supply and support vessels, Americraft Marine officials said.
Americraft Marine plans to bolster capacity at St. Johns Ship Building through workforce training, leveraging the yard’s proven expertise with the goal of creating a best-in-class future-focused shipyard.
“As a group that has over 45 years of maritime heritage through our original subsidiary Lomar Shipping, as well as significant renewable energy experience through four global clean energy subsidiaries, we are proud to invest in the future of U.S. competitiveness and energy security,” Libra Group Chairman and CEO George M. Logothetis said in a prepared statement. “With seasoned leaders who have decades of experience in the maritime industry and existing client relationships, Americraft Marine and St. Johns Ship Building will build upon and bolster the U.S. fleet, meeting government and customer needs while supporting the nation’s economic and clean energy future.”
“Americraft Marine is proud to acquire St. Johns Ship Building, which has the right leadership and skilled workforce to accelerate the future of U.S. shipbuilding and advance the urgent need for Jones Act-compliant, future-focused U.S. vessels,” said Omear Khalid, CEO of Americraft Marine. “Our goal is simple: to build a best-in-class Jones Act-compliant shipyard. Americraft Marine will provide stable industrial jobs, invest in workforce training, and leverage St. Johns’ proven expertise as well as the historical maritime heritage of the Libra Group.”
The acquisition is the first for Americraft Marine, which anticipates future organic and acquisition-based growth that addresses the need for modern, state-of-the-art vessels, including those that are eco-friendly as more Jones Act-compliant vessels age out of work. The company expects future expansions to prioritize investments that are sustainable and position the U.S. for leadership in the clean energy market by building and maintaining vessels that support renewable energy projects.
Americraft Marine was launched with the sole purpose to support and strengthen the U.S. shipbuilding industry and infrastructure with the goal to build St. Johns Ship Building as a center of excellence in Jones Act shipbuilding, the company said. This includes building on its 15 years of experience to help grow the number of stable, skilled jobs in the shipbuilding business, while advancing the U.S. economy, competitiveness, and clean energy future.