An artist illustration of the U.S. Coast Guard's Polar Security Cutter. Image courtesy VT Halter Marine

Bollinger Shipyards Completes VT Halter Acquisition

Mike Schuler
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November 14, 2022

Bollinger Shipyards announced Monday it has completed its acquisition of VT Halter Marine and ST Engineering Halter Marine Offshore (STEHMO) from ST Engineering North America, which was announced earlier this month.

In closing the transaction, Bollinger Shipyards takes on key U.S. Government shipbuilding programs, including the Polar Security Cutter (PSC) program for the U.S. Coast Guard, which could include up to three vessels for a value of $1.9 billion, and the Auxiliary Personnel Lighter-Small (APL(S)) program for the U.S. Navy.

“Today marks an important milestone for Bollinger and our 76-year history,” said Ben Bordelon, CEO and President of Bollinger Shipyards. “We’re excited to offer our defense and commercial customers an expanded suite of high-quality capabilities, services and solutions. By combining our skilled workforces in Louisiana and Mississippi, I know that there’s no better team in the shipbuilding industry to take on the largest, most complex projects.”

The acquisition also includes 378 acres comprising two shipyards in Pascagoula and two dormant yards north of Pascagoula, which have been 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 houses corporate office space, engineering, fabrication, warehousing and a foreign trade zone. The shipyard consists of 225,000 square feet 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 225.6m (740ft) tilt-beam launch system.

The previously mentioned shipbuilding programs will continue to be built at Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding.

Bollinger Shipyards, which is the largest privately-owned and operated shipbuilder in the United States, said the addition of the newly acquired yards in Pascagoula, Mississippi is strategic as it further strengthens Bollinger’s position in the industry and U.S. defense industrial base by increasing capacity and footprint, improving efficiencies, enhancing economies of scale, and building a larger skilled workforce, including increased engineering capacity. It also brings expanded capabilities for future programs, including an ACAT I program.

Bollinger Mississippi Repair offers a full suite of repair services to customers, including ship repair and conversion, dry docking, rig repair, fabrication, new construction and ancillary services.

Following the initial announcement of acquisition, Singapore-based ST Engineering, parent company to disclosed the cash value of the sale at $15 million. The company said the two businesses have posted a combined net loss before tax of $256 million in the last five years (2017-2021), with an annual net loss before tax ranging from about $$40 million to $60 million.

VT Halter Marine was awarded the Polar Security Cutter program contract in 2019, beating out Bollinger Shipyards and Fincantieri Marinette Marine to win the bid. The initial award was valued at $745.9 million with options that could bring the value to $1.9 billion if all three vessels are built. Construction of the lead PSC is scheduled to begin in 2022 with delivery planned for 2025. In late 2021, the Coast Guard and U.S. Navy exercised their option to construct the second vessel.

For ST Engineering, the sale marks its exit from the U.S. maritime sector.

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