GulfMark Offshore buys Rigdon Marine

Larry Rigdon launched his company, Rigdon Marine, with the construction of 10 vessels like the 210-foot DP-2 St. Louis. Their success led to the current building program comprising 10 190-foot diesel-electric supply vessels.

Desiring to have a position in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, GulfMark Offshore Inc., has agreed to purchase Rigdon Marine Corp.

The terms of the agreement calls for GulfMark to buy 100 percent of the equity interest of Rigdon Marine and its holding company for $150 million in cash and 2.1 million shares of GulfMark common stock. Both companies are based in Houston.

GulfMark will assume approximately $268 million in debt and $19 million in expenditures to complete vessels under construction. Total value of the acquisition is over $550 million.

This purchase by GulfMark signifies its debut in the Gulf of Mexico market. With vessel presence in the North Sea, Southeast Asia and South America, GulfMark will now be able to compete in the lucrative deepwater portion of the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas market.

Rigdon Marine owns 22 vessels, all are high-specification supply and crew/supply boats and none are more than five years old. The company has two classes of supply boats. Bender Shipbuilding and Repair built 10 vessels that are 210 feet long. Bollinger Shipyards is in the later stages of completing 10 additional supply boats, each 190 feet long.

Recently Rigdon has been adding two types of crew/supply boats, one called Fast Supply boats that are 181 feet long, and the other is a more traditional crew/supply boat with lengths of both 155 feet and 165 feet.
“I thought about retiring six years ago when I did not get the top job at Tidewater,” Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Rigdon said. “But the opportunity to own my own business in an industry I love led me to form Rigdon Marine,” Rigdon added “and in retrospect that was a very good decision.”

“The new company will not disrupt people’s lives, and that was important to me. Billy Guice, the sales manager, will simply report to a different office building in Houston, and the operations people in New Orleans will stay right where they are,” Rigdon said. “Now I can think about retiring.”

The deal will also end the financial relationship between Rigdon Marine and France’s

Rigdon Marine’s 210-foot DP-2, St. Louis.

Groupe Bourbon. Bourbon will have a capital gain on the sale of approximately 60 million euros and the repayment of loans granted by Bourbon of 110 million euros.

Rigdon created quite a splash in the marine industry when the company used $125 million in interim financing from Bourbon to build the first fleet of 10 deepwater DP-2 platform supply vessels. Charges of violating the Jones Act were rampant, and there was criticism such a deal was a threat to national security. That controversy quickly faded away, and the financing was later viewed as another source of capital to build Jones Act vessels.

The combined company will operate 90 vessels, and the 22 vessels in the Rigdon fleet at closing will add annualized revenues of $115 million.

Bruce Streeter, president and chief executive of GulfMark said, “Rigdon Marine has an excellent employee base with a strong management team, excellent market penetration and a growing fleet of well-designed vessels. In addition to the domestic U.S. vessel operations and customer base, our Americas operations will now include U.S., Mexico, Trinidad and Brazil.”

By Professional Mariner Staff