The Lauderdale Marine Center, South Florida’s largest boat repair centre, is being acquired by The Carlyle Group. According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, the price is expected to be in the range of US$140m to US$150m. The deal is expected to be completed by July 1.

“Companies outside the marine industry are acquiring marine businesses as they become aware of them, and that’s a good thing,” Phil Purcell, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, told the paper.

The paper reported that co-owners Selvin Passen and Morio Mito have invested US$65m in the facility, now roughly 60 acres, over two decades. The two bought the initial 32-acre parcel out of receivership in 1997.

The Marine Center employs about 40 people. It also rents out its facilities to about 50 businesses that employ about 600 to 1,200 people, depending on the season. The businesses offer refit and repair services like painting, woodworking and engine repair.

The Carlyle Group’s website says it has about US$193bn of assets under management and employs more than 1,650.

“It’s reassuring when outside capital groups come into the marine industry,” Jim Bronstien of Marine Business Advisors of North Palm Beach told the paper. “It tells us the industry is considered a good business opportunity. It’s not an ego purchase.”

The acquisition is the third marina purchase in South Florida this month. Atlantic Marina Holdings bought the PGA Marina in Palm Beach Gardens for US$8.45m. Nautical Ventures of Dania Beach announced that it plans to buy a marina property in North Palm Beach for about US$2.5m to develop a superstore for marine supplies.