Devonport Shipyard Under New Ownership

DML, the parent company of renowned British megayacht builder Devonport, has a new parent company itself: Babcock International Group, a support-services company with various engineering and defense contracts.

Among other things, Babcock refits British Royal Navy ships and provides specialized services to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD). The acquisition is a logical move for Babcock, given that Devonport also refits and refuels Royal Navy subs and has its biggest customer in the MoD.

According to a few newspaper reports, DML was put up for sale in 2006 by its three shareholders, KBR (a subsidiary of Halliburton), The Weir Group, and Balfour Beatty. Babcock’s bid, reported to be £350 million (about $714 million) by the same newspapers, was approved by the shareholders as well as the MoD this spring, and the official acquisition announcement from Devonport came last week.

While Babcock is creating the division Babcock Marine to encompass Devonport’s activities, Devonport doesn’t anticipate any significant changes in its operations for the time being. It continues to focus on yachts such as Project 54, the code-named 82-meter (269-footer) it has underway. I plan to meet with Devonport at the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show and will update you on the latest news at that time.

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