Platinum Equity set to buy shipyard owner

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Platinum Equity, owner of several boat lines including Ranger Boats, is branching into commercial boating with a $777 million deal to buy American Commercial Lines, owner of the Jeffboat shipyard in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Dan Whelan, vice president of the Los Angeles-based private equity firm, declined to comment, pending the 40-day period in which American Commercial Lines can solicit competing buyout offers, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

“We look forward to working closely with [American Commercial Lines chief executive] Mike Ryan and his management team, as well as all of the ACL employees and customers,” Platinum Equity principal Louis Samson said in a statement.

American Commercial Lines has about 2,570 employees and $850 million in annual revenue, including Jeffboat and approximately 130 towboat crews operating on the nation’s rivers.

Officials of the company and the Teamsters union said there are no plans for layoffs or relocations as part of the deal, the newspaper reported.

The company has struggled in the recession. It lost $12 million in 2009 and $4.8 million in the first half of this year, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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