US builder Trinity Yachts has been acquired by marine transportation company Harvey Gulf International Marine. With the ink barely dry on the contracts, what this news means for the superyacht yard is unknown at this time.
Former partner in Trinity Yachts, Billy Smith confirmed the news of the acquisition to Boat International, and he said the fate of the superyacht side of the business is, “up to the new owners, who will evaluate the business and decide where to take it.”
After a long tenure with Trinity Yachts, Billy Smith has left the company and is looking forward to “new challenges”.
Harvey Gulf International Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana, is acquiring two yards from the Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, which was formed in 2013. This includes the Trinity Yachts yard in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Shipyard in Gulfport Mississippi. A new affiliate called the Harvey Shipyard Group is being set up in order to manage the company’s new shipbuilding’s assets.
According to reports in trade industry papers, the main draw to the Gulf Coast Shipyard assets is the LNG yachtbuilding capabilities. "These shipyard acquisitions will position Harvey Gulf as America's only builder, owner, and operator of dual-fuel (diesel/LNG) offshore supply vessels and allow us to pass along the savings of lower operating costs and environmental protection to the marine transportation industry,” said Harvey Gulf Chairman and CEO Shane J Guidry.
Harvey Gulf is investing $350 million to construct a LNG fuel fleet of platform supply vessels at the Gulfport facilitily, the first of which will be delivered this year.
Where this leaves the superyacht building side of the business at Trinity Yachts is much in question.
“Now that the transaction is closed, maybe we will get some clarity on plans for [Trinity Yachts],” Billy Smith told Boat International. Trinity Yachts currently has a 58 metre yacht in build that will be delivered later this year and a few yachts are in the yard for repair.
Smith says he is hopeful about the future of the US superyacht yard in New Orleans, pointing out that the LNG activity is happening at the yard in Gulfport.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Billy Smith said. “From my perspective, Trinity has history, engineering experience and data…. The yard is in place."
Smith notes that the new owners are “well funded” and depending on what they decide will dictate the future of Trinity Yachts. “If they decide they want to expand the yacht division, they can. They are very smart guys and will do what looks profitable.
"Something needed to be done, I'm glad to keep yard intact," Smith said.