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Largest refit yard in US to be expanded as Lauderdale Marine Center is acquired

Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC), the largest yacht repair shipyard in the US, has been acquired by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group. 

The aptly named Lauderdale Marine Center is set along the New River in the yachting mecca of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is considered the largest refit facility in terms of how many superyachts it can haul and service at one time. Accommodating yachts up to 200 feet, the Lauderdale Marine Center has 19 covered sheds, 156 in-water slips, 7,000 linear feet of dockage and has three travel lifts capable of 330-ton haul-outs. 

The Carlyle Group announced the acquisition of Lauderdale Marine Center in an official statement on July 2, stating the equity for the deal came from US real estate investors Carlyle Realty Partners VII. Carlyle is a US based company, but Arabian media are noting that Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company owns a 7.5 percent stake in the company after a deal in 2007.

While the Carlyle Group hasn't disclosed the value of the Lauderdale Marine Center acquisition, Fort Lauderdale newspaper The Sun-Sentinel reports that the price of the LMC facility is estimated to be $140 to $150 million.

“In partnership with the outstanding management team and staff at LMC, we will build upon LMC’s success through growth and continued innovation and superb customer service,” said Thad Paul, managing director at The Carlyle Group. “Favourable demand trends in the mega-yacht industry and the high barriers to entry for new supply in Southeast Florida attracted us to the investment.”

The Carlyle Group will invest in its newly acquired yacht refit facility, announcing minor renovations and expansion plans for the Lauderdale Marine Center. These include renovating the adjacent River Bend boatyard and incorporating the properties, paving the southwest corner of the yard to provide more space for servicing superyachts, and developing new management and leasing offices. The Lauderdale Marine Center leases work and commercial spaces to more than 60 on-site contractors, from repair specialists to brokers and insurers.

Mark Pratt, general manager of Lauderdale Marine Center, said of the acquisition, “Carlyle has a track record of value creation in its business and property investments, which makes their ownership a welcome development for LMC. With our state-of-the-art facilities and unique operating model that allows captains to choose their own contractors, we are ideally positioned for future growth.”

The yacht refit business in Florida recently received a boost as Florida passed a yacht repair tax cut. The yachting industry is a major boon to the Florida economy, with an estimated output of $11.5 billion in South Florida alone. 

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