October 31, 2003

Hampton Roads repairers to merge

The Virginian-Pilot reports that two Hampton Roads area repairers, Moon Engineering Co. Inc. and Earl Industries LLC, both based in Portsmouth, Va., are to consolidate.

Earl is preparing to purchase Moon in a deal expected to close in January, says the newspaper. "The merged company would have just shy of 1,000 employees, which would still qualify the new company as a small business in terms of Navy contracting," says the story.

The Virginian-Pilot story notes that the Navy plans to bundle contracts for repair work on ships along the East Coast, beginning with the five-year contract for work on a group of 19 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.

"The Navy is trying to make repair work more efficient, by awarding bulk contracts to a prime contractor that will coordinate the planning and execution of the repairs and select subcontractors," says the story. "However, many small shipyards fear they will be left vying for scraps from the prime contractors who will get the lion's share of work."

The newspaper quotes Earl Industries senior VP Ronald Ritter as saying that the Navy's decision to bundle repair work on the destroyers convinced executives at Earl and Moon -- who have been talking about merging for years -- that now is the time to join forces.

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