Bollinger Shipyards, Lockport, La., announced today that it has completed the acquisition of VT Halter Marine Inc. and ST Engineering Halter Marine Offshore (STEHMO). The newly acquired yards have been renamed Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding and Bollinger Mississippi Repair.
Bollinger purchased the companies from ST Engineering North America, a technology, defense and engineering group, for an estimated $15 million.
In addition, ST Engineering Ltd. may receive earnout payments post-closing of up to $10.25 million, subject to the award of certain future shipbuilding contracts to Halter Marine and such contracts meeting the requisite operating profit margins.
ST Engineering conducted a thorough review of these two U.S. marine businesses. The two business units have incurred a combined net loss before taxes of $256 million in the last five years (2017-2021), with an annual net loss before taxes that ranged from about $40 million $60 million.
VT Halter, Pascagoula, Miss., is a subsidiary of ST Engineering. Bollinger Shipyards was acquired by Edison Chouest Offshore in 2014.
“We have experienced challenges and losses in the past years operating the two U.S. shipbuilding and ship/rig repair businesses," said Vincent Chong, group president and CEO of ST Engineering. "After a thorough review of strategic alternatives, we made this difficult decision to exit the U.S. marine business. We believe that this proposed transaction represents a favorable outcome for ST Engineering shareholders, Halter Marine and STEHMO as well as their stakeholders.”
“We thank our U.S. marine employees for their contributions over the years, including accomplishing many shipbuilding successes and delivering niche vessels with high engineering contents to their customers,” said Ng Sing Chan, president of ST Engineering’s marine business area.
Bollinger said the transaction expands its new construction and repair capacity.
“For over 75 years, my family has been dedicated to providing our government and commercial customers with the highest levels of quality, support, and service in the U.S. shipbuilding industry,” Ben Bordelon, CEO, and president of Bollinger Shipyards, said in a statement. “The addition of VT Halter Marine and STEHMO in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is strategic as it further strengthens our position in the industry and U.S. defense industrial base by allowing Bollinger to expand our footprint, capabilities, and suite of innovative solutions that we can provide to our customers."
The acquisition creates more opportunities for Bollinger to better serve and deepen its relationships with its key defense and commercial customers with an increased capacity and footprint, improved efficiencies, enhanced economies of scale, and access to a large skilled workforce, including increased engineering capacity, Bollinger officials said. It also brings expanded capabilities for future programs, including an ACAT I program.
Bollinger’s acquisition increases the shipyard’s growing new construction and repair portfolio. All ongoing VT Halter programs have been transferred to Bollinger with the transaction. Notably, the Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program and the Navy Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small (APL(S)) program. Those programs will continue to be built at Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding.
In addition to the construction of the Coast Guard Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) program, Bollinger builds the Navy's Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV) and the Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) programs, as well as the Regional Class Research Vessel for the National Science Foundation and Oregon State University.
Bollinger also has two active contracts with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build a 618'x140' floating drydock and a 496'x95' pontoon launcher, both of which will support the construction and launching of the Navy’s Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. In addition, Bollinger is participating in industry studies for two government programs, including the Navy’s Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle (LUSV) program and its Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program.
"By combining our skilled workforces, we’ll ensure coastal Mississippi remains synonymous with defense shipbuilding and remains a major part of our industrial base,” Bordelon said.
The acquisition includes 378 acres comprising two shipyards in Pascagoula and two dormant yards north of Pascagoula. The newly acquired yards will be renamed Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding and Bollinger Mississippi Repair. The Pascagoula facilities are strategically located with direct, deep-water access to the Gulf of Mexico and includes corporate office space, engineering, fabrication, warehousing, and a foreign trade zone.
The VT Halter shipyard consists of 225,000 sq. ft. of covered production area in the main fabrication assembly buildings. The facility is capable of producing Panamax-sized vessels up to 50,000 dwt. and features an expanded 740' tilt-beam launch system.
Bollinger is on a buying spree of sorts. In 2021, the company acquired Gulf Island Fabrication Inc.’s shipyard facilities in Houma, La. The financial terms of that transaction were not disclosed.
The Bollinger Houma facility encompasses 437 acres on the west bank of the Houma Navigation Canal, of which 283 acres is unimproved land that is available for expansion. The facility includes 18,000 sq. ft. of administrative and operations facilities, 160,000 sq. ft. of covered fabrication facilities, and 20,000 sq. ft. of warehouse facilities. It also has 6,750 linear feet of water frontage, including 2,350 feet of steel bulkheads. Located just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the location provides short and unrestricted access to the newly acquired Houma facility from open waters.
The acquisition also includes a 15,000-short-ton drydock, a 4,000-short-ton drydock, a 3,000-short-ton drydock, and a 1,500-short-ton drydock.