Court approves FGO sale
The sale to ACON, which is expected to close in early January 2003, includes $18 million in cash and the assumption of $43 million in debt. "We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the secured lenders, GE Capital Public Finance and the US Maritime Administration in agreeing to the assumption of their secured claims by ACON," said Jim Decker, director of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, the financial advisor to FGH.
"We are pleased and expect that ACON will offer employment to substantial numbers of former employees of the Friede Goldman Offshore Division. We expect that ACON will be a significant player in the offshore industry," Decker said.
The new company will operate its acquired assets in Pascagoula, Miss. and Port Arthur, Texas under the name of Signal International, LLC (Signal). Signal will provide new construction, upgrade and repair of all types of offshore drilling rigs, floating production units, and inland and offshore drilling and derrick barges.
"We are about to bring to a close a very challenging period in our company's history," said Ron Schnoor, President of Friede Goldman Offshore, who will continue as a member of Signal's senior management team.
Schnoor continued, "We are very excited about the opportunities that the new company, Signal International, will have upon exiting the bankruptcy. I am confident we will return this very committed and talented organization to its pre-eminent position in our industry."
It is understood that Signal international's board will include Jerry St. PÈ, who retired last year as head of Pascagoula-based Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, and Dick Marler, the former chief operating officer of Friede Goldman International. Reportedly, Signal's plans include keeping open the Greenwood Island plant in East Pascagoula, which FGH had planned to close in its reorganization efforts.