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November 8, 2003

BMI sells for $11.25 million

The Baltimore Sun reports that a Boston-based investment group plans to revive the defunct Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. shipyard in Sparrows Point, creating up to 1,500 jobs over the next three years and using the facility to its full capacity to "build barges and repair and build light ships."

The newspaper story, by Lorraine Mirabella, quotes Robert Willis, a principal with Barletta Willis LLC , as saying the new owner plans to restart operations at the yard by April, employing some 300 to 500 workers in the first year and beginning with work on barges.

According to the Baltimore Sun story, the new owner plans to "hire a shipyard operator or create a joint venture with one" and will invest some $20 million into the site initially to make it operational. It envisions a long-term investment of some $200 million over five years.

Barletta Willis reportedly has a larger strategy to own and operate several shipyards on both coasts. The company has an option on another shipyard and is negotiating to buy two others, Willis is reported as saying, though he did not disclose their locations.

Baltimore Marine Industries, was previously owned by Veritas Capital, the company that purchased the failed Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Sparrows Point shipyard business. It sold at auction on Wednesday amid active bidding

Michael Fox International, Inc., an international auction and appraisal company whose headquarters are in Owings Mills, Maryland, was retained through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to market the real estate and machinery in bulk as an entirety.

A large crowd of several hundred people witnessed and participated in the bidding for the bulk offering. When the final bids were acknowledged, the machinery and equipment sold for $2 million and the real estate for $9.25 million.

"We often handle sales of this size and for this sale, our global marketing efforts found the right buyer with the right amount of vision," said David Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Michael Fox International.

The property consists of approximately 250 acres with one mile of waterfront and containing numerous buildings. It has has a view of the Harbor all the way to the Key Bridge. At press time, said Fox, the new owner had "not decided what they are going to do with the property, but they do plan on reopening it in some capacity.

"We are particularly pleased that we were able to maximize the proceeds for the estate and help create local jobs by selling this facility intact to one buyer," said Fox.

At its peak Baltimore Marine Industries employed 775 employees. The shipyard provided multiple repair, conversion and new construction services as well as custom cutting and forming of steel plates.

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