Signet to Buy Harvey Gulf Fleet

[U]Press Release:
HOUSTON – May 15, 2014 – Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, through its Energy and Marine and Capital Markets Groups, acting in the capacity of lead arranger, closed a $209 million financing facility today for Signet Maritime Corporation (Signet), a global marine transportation company based in Houston, TX. The new facility refinances Signet’s existing bank debt and provides acquisition financing for the purchase of Harvey Gulf International Marine’s ocean towing vessel (OTV) fleet, which includes eight OTVs. Signet will also use proceeds of the financing facility to complete the construction and purchase of three new-build escort ASD reverse tractor tugs, and the purchase of three existing bareboat chartered vessels. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), will serve as Administrative Agent and Collateral Agent on the transaction.

“The financing facility arranged by our lenders at Wells Fargo Equipment Finance acts as a catalyst for growth allowing Signet to expand its offshore operations effectively closing the loop to provide turn-key support to energy companies,” said J. Barry Snyder, president of Signet. “We are very proud of our double-digit increases in revenue, net income and EBITDA over the recent years, and by combining the strength of the very fine Harvey tugs, we are poised for increased productivity for the next decade.”

“We are very pleased to provide this comprehensive financing and acquisition package to Signet,” said Trent Mabe, managing director for Wells Fargo Equipment Finance. “Under Kyle Parks’ leadership, our Energy and Marine team did an outstanding job for Signet and our fellow equipment finance investors.”

Wells Fargo Equipment Finance’s Energy and Marine Group is a dedicated team chartered with providing equipment secured capital specifically to the oil and gas and commercial marine industries. With its industry focus, related equipment expertise, and structuring and capital markets capabilities, the Energy and Marine Group provides customized capital solutions tailored to address its clients’ objectives.

About Signet Maritime Corporation:

Signet Maritime Corporation is a diverse international marine transportation and logistics company with concentration in the Americas, Africa and Middle East. Signet services the offshore marine and energy sector with rig movements, harbor tugboat operations, petroleum transport, vessel bunkering, and barge transport services. The Company’s full service vessel shipyard, Signet Shipbuilding & Repair (SS&R), provides new construction, repair, maintenance and refurbishment for steel and aluminum marine vessels. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Signet maintains offices in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Port Fourchon, Louisiana, Morgan City, Louisiana, Ingleside, Texas, Brownsville, Texas, Dubai UAE, and Brazil SA. Signet is certified by the American Bureau of Shipping to ISO 9001:2008 and ISM, as well as STCW-95, MTSA.

About Wells Fargo Equipment Finance:

Wells Fargo Equipment Finance is the second-largest bank-affiliated equipment leasing and finance business in the United States by asset portfolio and annual originations, with more than 140,000 customers, 55 branch locations, and 1,200 team members. Wells Fargo Equipment Finance is the trade name for the equipment leasing and finance businesses of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A and its subsidiaries, consisting of Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc., a Minnesota corporation headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Wells Fargo Financial Leasing, Inc., an Iowa corporation headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa; and the Wells Fargo Equipment Finance division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., located in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

Press release from Signet:

HOUSTON—May 16, 2014—Signet Maritime Corporation, a global marine transportation provider, today announced it has completed its acquisition of eight Harvey Gulf International Marine offshore towing vessels (OTVs) ranging in size from 153 to 75 metric tonnes bollard pull. The sale will encompass all Harvey OTVs, spares, business and supplies. Signet has committed to retention of all crewmembers and plans for Tier 3 Generation of power onboard all eight tugs with conversions starting immediately.

The purchase expands Signet’s vessel classes and allows the Company to broaden its service, offering over 38 ASD tractor and conventional vessels to customers in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide. When combined, the modern fleet under Signet ownership and operation will average 11 years of age. “The combination of Harvey and Signet follows a thorough due diligence process and is fully consistent with our strategy of being a “one-stop turnkey” source for all our customers’ needs,” stated J. Barry Snyder, Signet’s President. Further, he commented, “This acquisition will accelerate our growth plans and we are very excited to welcome the talented and hardworking employees of Harvey OTVs to the Signet team.”

Shane J. Guidry, Chairman & CEO, Harvey Gulf said, “Our two companies share a strong culture of entrepreneurship and a focus on quality and service to the customer. I look forward to seeing the talented people of Harvey and Signet work together as we continue to fulfill our commitment to meet all our customer needs.”

Since 1976, Signet has been a preeminent maritime transportation source for quality vessels. The Company specializes in rig moves, towing, ship assist and escort, vessel design, new vessel construction, repair and maintenance. Keeping the Company at the forefront of technology in the maritime industry, Signet was one of the first to incorporate EPA Tier 3 engines into all its vessel designs. Most recently, Signet’s ASD reverse tractor tugs participated in the safe movements of Shell OLYMPUS, Chevron’s JACK & ST. MALO, Anadarko’s LUCIUS, and Chevron’s BIG FOOT.

The addition of the eight ocean-class offshore towing vessels enhances Signet’s high-performance fleet and enables it to provide ocean towing of semi-submersible, jack-up drilling rigs, TLPs, anchor handling, and subsea pipeline installation support.

The transfer of OTV ownership was completed on May 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana with financing provided by Wells Fargo Equipment Finance as part of a $209 million syndicated financing facility. All vessels are scheduled for Tier 3 upgrade and refurbishment at Signet Shipbuilding & Repair in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Signet will continue to maintain its Offshore Towing Division operations from Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

The purchase of the powerful bollard pull ABS classed towing vessels includes:
SIGNET WARHORSE I –152.63 metric tonnes
SIGNET WARHORSE II –153.58 metric tonnes
SIGNET WARHORSE III –135.44 metric tonnes
SIGNET LIGHTNING – 98.76 metric tonnes
SIGNET THUNDER – 89.74 metric tonnes
SIGNET INTRUDER – 86.98 metric tonnes
SIGNET TITAN – 82.81 metric tonnes
SIGNET TROJAN – 75.70 metric tonnes