According to reports by the US newspaper The Columbian, a local judge finalized a settlement on Friday last week, which clears the way for the Washington-based superyacht builder to have its receivership ended.
Christensen Shipyards Ltd. is expected to exit receivership after two years. According to reports by the US newspaper The Columbian, a local judge finalized a settlement on Friday last week, which clears the way for the Washington-based superyacht builder to have its receivership ended.
The receiver will pay US$6.1m to more than 600 claimants who went unpaid during 2014 and 2015 as Christensen struggled financially.
Receiver Miles Stover called the judge’s order a success because of the number of companies and people involved. “If you have any experience in this world, this was a very successful case,” he told the paper. The receivership should wind up, he said, in the next two months.
Christensen Shipyards Ltd nearly went bankrupt in early 2015 after several companies filed lawsuits for payment of supplies and services. Four large firms received settlements of a combined US$2m last June outside of the receivership.
About 120 employees were awarded US$400,000 total for unpaid benefits. The rest of the money, about US$4m, will go to businesses that provide luxury goods, including Swedish spa manufacturers and suppliers of Armani Chairs.
Christensen, which was founded in 1983, saw the first signs of trouble in late 2014 when it announced that it was restructuring. The company had been laying off employees, with its workforce dropping from 400 to about 110. Workers arrived to work in December 2014 to find the gates chained.
As the lawsuits piled up, a receiver was appointed in 2015. Stover restored operations and rehired about 70 workers to complete several yachts under construction.
When examining Christensen’s accounting practices, he found “a history of very weak internal controls, a general lack of segregation of duties and non adherence to generally accepted accounting principles,” according to a court filing.
In July 2015, the court approved the sale of the company’s assets for US$5.5 million to one of its co-owners, Henry Luken. The sale included assets from machinery and computers, plus trademarks and unfulfilled contracts for new yachts. The purchase price was set aside to pay for the claims while the receiver negotiated with hundreds of creditors..
Luken launched a new company called Christensen Shipyards LLC in the summer of 2015. The company now has many former employees working on new builds. The paper reported that a lawsuit among the owners of the previous business is still ongoing.