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Originally published May 21, 2014 at 5:36 PM | Page modified May 21, 2014 at 7:33 PM

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Shipbuilders Vigor and Oregon Iron Works agree to merge

A couple heavy hitters in the Northwest marine industry are joining forces in a deal that brings together about 2,300 employees in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.


Seattle Times business reporter

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A couple heavy hitters in the Northwest marine industry are joining forces in a deal that brings together about 2,300 employees in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

Vigor Industrial and Oregon Iron Works, both privately held and based in Oregon, said Wednesday they are merging to pursue more complex projects and expand to new markets.

Oregon Iron will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Vigor Industrial, which will continue to be run by longtime Chief Executive Frank Foti. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.

Executives at Vigor and Oregon Iron said no changes in daily operations are expected, and no layoffs are planned. The majority of the combined company’s employees will be at several Washington shipyards, including Seattle.

“The businesses aren’t competitive. They’re complementary,” Foti said. “In fact, this should generate more work.”

Portland-based Vigor, which has 1,800 employees and annual sales of between $400 million and $500 million, builds fishing boats, tugs, barges and ferries.

It became the Northwest’s dominant shipbuilding and marine-repair company in 2011, when it bought Seattle’s Todd Pacific Shipyards for $130 million. Vigor expanded again in 2012 with its purchase of Alaska Ship and Drydock.

Oregon Iron, based in Clackamas, Ore., employs more than 480 and generates between $100 million and $150 million in annual sales. It was founded in 1944 and makes sophisticated watercraft for government and commercial operators.

The company recently won a lucrative contract to build a new generation of combat boats for the U.S. Special Operations Command.

“We’ll remain relatively independent, although we’ll be part of a bigger family,” said Tom Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing at Oregon Iron. “We’ll continue to operate just as we have been.”

The two companies said they expect to complete the merger by the end of June, after receiving government approval.

Foti said he will continue to look for expansion opportunities, including other mergers and acquisitions. “We’re about industrial evolution,” he said.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @amyemartinez



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