Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has acquired the assets of Alabama-based Horizon Shipbuilding following a motion approved earlier this month by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Alabama.
With the acquisition, Metal Shark assumes ownership of the fully developed 35-acre shipbuilding facility in the Mobile Bay region, with separate east and west yards both fronting a dredged deepwater inlet.
“We are thrilled to acquire the assets of Horizon, which will greatly increase our shipbuilding capability and capacity,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “This acquisition will dramatically expand Metal Shark, as we add an impressive Alabama facility to our growing portfolio of shipyards and leverage Horizon’s expertise in the construction of steel vessels.”
The Alabama facility boasts a total of nine assembly buildings; a 660-ton Travelift; multiple cranes, CNC plasma cutters, welders, and other fixtures supporting the construction of steel and aluminum vessels up to 300’ in length and 1,500 tons launch weight. It is located on an 18? dredged inlet off Mississippi Sound and the Intercoastal Waterway, adjacent to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Metal Shark, which is most known for its aluminium boats, says the facility will be used for the design and construction of custom steel vessels for multiple markets, as well as the refit, repair, and conversion of existing vessels.
“As we add steel vessels to our already broad range of aluminum craft, we will offer everything from a sixteen- foot aluminum skiff to steel vessels up to 300’, and virtually everything in between, making the diversity of Metal Shark’s portfolio truly unmatched in the industry,” said Mr. Allard. “Additionally, our Alabama yard’s complete refit and repair services will appeal to customers throughout the Gulf, and also those in the South Florida and Caribbean yachting community. These clients will benefit from an accessible and modern facility with some of the most competitive labor rates in the nation.”
Since filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in October of 2017, Horizon has continued to operate under the direction of company CEO Travis R. Short. With the acquisition, Short will join Metal Shark, where he will serve as Executive Vice President.
“Over his past 20-plus years with Horizon, Travis has done an outstanding job of building and maintaining relationships with customers across multiple sectors,” said Mr. Allard. “He is well-liked and respected; he brings great shipbuilding knowledge and insight, and we’re happy to welcome him to Metal Shark.”
“After a long run at Horizon, I am pleased to enter this next phase by joining this team and by bringing our Alabama yard into the Metal Shark family,” said Travis Short. “We are excited to add the technology, engineering, and processes that have set Metal Shark apart in the industry.”
The acquisition of Horizon is the latest in a series of expansion moves by Metal Shark. In 2014 the company opened its 25-acre Franklin, Louisiana shipyard, which currently produces aluminum vessels up to 200’ in length including passenger vessels and larger military craft. The most recent Franklin expansion includes a new 200’ x 80’ large vessel assembly building and 8,000 square-foot office building just finished this year.
The company’s nearby 15-acre Jeanerette, Louisiana production campus has also expanded numerous times in recent years. It currently produces nearly 200 boats a year for U.S and foreign militaries, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and others.
With three fully self-contained facilities in Alabama and Louisiana spanning over 75 total acres, Metal Shark employs a workforce of over 500 and produces over 200 vessels a year. The company says it is heavily recruiting as it seeks to bolster its workforce to support its growth plans.
“We will now incorporate Metal Shark’s technology, our production and project management methodologies, and the power of our in-house staff of over 40 engineers and naval architects to integrate these new assets into our operations,” summarized Mr. Allard. “We will also begin to separate our boatbuilding and shipbuilding efforts and recognize them as different entities. As we continue on this very calculated trajectory, we feel the conditions are perfect for the further growth and diversification of our portfolio.”
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