MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Governor Robert Bentley congratulated Austal USA executives and employees upon the official opening of three new facilities at the shipbuilder’s massive complex along the Mobile River Friday.
Speaking from an economic development mission overseas, Governor Bentley said the expansion of Austal’s operations in the United States was the latest indication of Alabama’s growing role in international commerce.
“Once again, we are seeing how Alabama is a prime location for international companies to locate and expand,” Governor Bentley said. “I stood together with leaders from Austal at last year’s ground breaking, and as the new facilities prepare to open for business, there is practically no limit to what Austal can achieve. As Austal USA grows and serves additional customers, we will be putting even more people back to work. Alabama’s business-friendly environment and our dedicated, talented workforce have been noticed around the world, and we appreciate Austal for the company’s continued commitment to Alabama. We look forward to even more good news to come.”
An Australian-based shipbuilder, Austal is recognized as a leader in the design and construction of defense and commercial vessels. The company maintains shipyards in Western Australia; Mobile, Alabama; and the Philippines. Austal also provides vessel maintenance and management services along with other support services for customers worldwide.
Austal USA established a presence in Mobile in 1999 and currently employs approximately 2,800 people building warships for the U.S. Navy. Austal USA has already made major investments in its Mobile shipyard, with more than $100 million in expansion and improvements from 2008 to 2012.
The three new facilities that opened Friday greatly enhance the size and scope of the company’s Mobile River complex and help make the complex the most modern and innovative shipyard on the continent. The facilities include a 700,000 square-foot Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF); a 59,000 square-foot assembly bay; and a 108,000 square-foot office complex.
“I am pleased to announce that all three of these projects were completed under budget and either on or ahead of schedule,” Austal USA’s Interim President and Chief Financial Officer, Brian Leathers, said. “This says a lot about our Facilities Development team who are still working to complete further expansion of our ever-growing operation. In just a few short years, Austal has accomplished what has taken others decades. We are the proud contractors of two major U.S. Navy shipbuilding programs, and we have grown our operation to meet the needs of our clients as we promised them we would.”
“We are proud of the great relationship that exists between Austal and the State of Alabama,” Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. “This expansion is another example of how much success companies enjoy when they are located in Alabama."