The receivership of Christensen Shipyards in Vancouver, Washington, has come to a partial conclusion, with the sale of its assets to its former part-owner, Superyacht Business‘s sister tittle IBI reports. The judge overseeing the case approved the sale to Henry Luken, a Tennessee businessman, for US$5.5m.
“We intend to operate the yard here as always,” Luken told The Columbian newspaper. Luken told the paper that the shipyard now employs 90 people but there are plans to slowly increase the workforce to 150.
Christensen was forced into receivership in late January, and the receiver, Miles Stover, was appointed to determine whether it should be sold or placed into liquidation. Stover will use the money to pay some creditors and resolve employee wage and benefit claims.
The judge said that the negotiations and sale of company to Luken was done in “good faith, for fair value, at arm’s length and without collusion.” Suppliers had begun to sue the company in December 2014 before the company’s finances quickly spiraled downwards.
Luken, who has owned telecommunications businesses and real estate, told the paper that he is closely involved in the design of the yachts. “And now I get to make the decisions and pay for them,” he said.
Before the fallout at the company, Christensen was controlled by a board of directors that included Luken, former president Joe Foggia, and Dave Christensen, who founded the shipyard. According to LinkedIn, Foggia is now a principal adviser of Global Yacht Advisors. David Christensen has been “unable to participate or vote in board and shareholder meetings due to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease,” according to court documents.
The paper reported that the ongoing receivership process will sort out unresolved matters and claims from creditors. It is also expected to determine how the company had its financial troubles. Court documents, according to the paper, said that Stover found a financial mess, including “books of records that indicate a history of very weak internal controls.” The court papers said there were no other interested buyers in the shipyard.
Luken also owns a facility in Tennessee which will be capable of building superyachts from 170ft-220ft. He told the paper that the Vancouver shipyard, which can build yachts up to 165ft, will eventually make money. “I think we can make as good a product that ever came out of here,” he said. “If anything, we’ll make boats better than they were ever made before.”