Northeast Ship Repair, the Boston-based firm that's been stripping old U.S. Navy ships at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard, has been sold for around $18.5 million to a Radnor investment firm and its partners.
"It's a good investment: there are maybe five dry docks on the East Coast that can handle ships 750 feet or bigger, and they're not building any new ones," Andrew Panzo, general partner at NewSpring Capital in Radnor, told me. NewSpring bought 42% of Northeast Ship Repair, which has leased Dry Dock No. 2 at the Philadelphia yard, and a second dock in Boston, from J.H. Lehman Co., the New York investment firm headed by Reagan-era U.S. Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, a Philadelphia native. Plexus Capital, Raleigh, N.C., bought another 42 percent. Northeast President Ed Snyder and other managers and private investors bought the rest.
Under the federal Jones Act, Navy vessels have to be repaired and repainted regularly at U.S. facilities, Ponzo told me. Northeast's Philadelphia Ship Repair unit is removing engines, propellers and other key equipment from aging guided-missile frigates and other decommissioned ships, after which they will be scrapped.