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January 16, 2010

Signal International top bidder for Bender yard

Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co., Inc. says that Signal International, Inc. was the winning bidder at the auction of its Mobile, Alabama, shipyard held on Friday, January 15, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana, with a final bid of $31,250,000.00.

The sale is subject to approvalby the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

There was one other bidder, Vision Technologies Systems, parent company of VT Halter Marine, which announced in December an offer to buy the shipyard for $21 million.

Mobile TV station WKRG quotes Dick Marler, Signal's president and chief executive officer as saying that the yard will become known as Signal Ship Repair. The deal should be finalized around January 22.

Signal , which has two shipyards in Texas and two in Mississippi, recently relocated its headquarters from Pascagoula, to Mobile's RSA Battle House Tower, after Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) took a $100 million stake in the company.

"With RSA as a major investor, we were able to make this purchase and now will be active in both the shipbuilding and off shore drilling industries. This is great news for our company, our clients, RSA and the entire Mobile area," said Mr. Marler,"We will be investing $5 million in capital improvements initially and hope to have between 400 and 500 employees in the next 18 months."

Bender's steel plate shop in Mobile, and its shipyard in Mexico are set for a separate sale at a later date.


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