State’s top shipbuilder buys Everett Shipyard

EVERETT — Todd Shipyards Corp., the state’s biggest shipbuilder, has purchased privately held Everett Shipyard in a move that could steer the local firm to more work.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the purchase will help the Everett business pay for and improve a 1,000-ton dry dock that will expand the type of work it can perform, Todd officials said.

Everett Shipyard, owned by the Eitel family, began in the 1940s as Fisherman’s Boat Shop, a business that focused on fishing boats. Today, the majority of its business is in maintenance and repair of state ferry vessels, a niche that has brought $47 million to the company during the past five years, said President Kevin Quigley.

“I’m ecstatic,” Quigley said of the purchase. “It’s super exciting for me. It’s just the thing we need to take the company to the next level.”

Seattle-based Todd, founded in 1916 as the William H. Todd Corp., is a publicly traded business (TOD) that employs 800 people and had sales of $125.5 million last year. It recently lowered its dividend, saying it wanted to improve its cash position.

Under the deal, Todd is buying the assets of Everett Shipyard under a new subsidiary called Everett Ship Repair &Drydock Inc. It said in a news release that it expects to contract with Quigley to continue to run the company.

Quigley said the two shipyards do different kinds of work and that Everett Shipyard will continue to have to compete for its business. But he said the Everett company should be more successful now because of both its relationship with Todd and changes it’s making at property it leases at the Port of Everett.

“We’ve always been a leader in Washington State Ferry work in terms of the dockside work,” Quigley said, noting the ferry Hyak will be coming to Everett soon for repairs. “Hopefully, what this means is we can expand that work.”

He noted that Todd has a multiyear contract to do work on ships stationed at Naval Station Everett.

“We know Todd contracts out some of that work and this is our opportunity to bid for that work,” Quigley said. “We’re still a separate company, so we have to show we can do it better and cheaper.”

Quigley described the companies as in two different worlds, but he said the purchase will make Everett Shipyard more competitive.

He noted that bidding on building new Steel Electric car ferries “was objective No. 1” for his business with or without the sale. Todd is in final negotiations with the state to build even larger, 144-car ferries, and Quigley said he will compete for work there as well.

“I believe we can find some piece of that we can be competitive on,” he said.

Everett Shipyard has been working with the Port of Everett on a voluntary cleanup at its longtime site on the waterfront, a project that has been taken over by the state Department of Ecology. While that’s been going on, the company has leased additional property from the port that includes a deepwater area. Having a drydock and deepwater mooring will help the company expand its business, which right now mostly focuses on tying up ferries to a port pier as it does repairs.

Quigley said he’s excited about building a new shipyard without the legacy of decades of pollution. And the extra facilities, he said, “open a world of opportunity.”

The sale, to be completed in February, is contingent on port approval.

Reporter Mike Benbow: 425-339-3459 or benbow@heraldnet.com.

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