Maritime Partners Acquires J. Russell Flowers Portfolio
Maritime Partners LLC announced December 1 that it has acquired the portfolio of J. Russell Flowers Inc. (JRF). The acquisition includes more than 1,000 marine vessels operating on bareboat charter, including a variety of towboats, tank barges, hopper barges and deck barges.
With the acquisition, Maritime Partners’ portfolio has grown to approximately 1,600 vessels with an estimated fair market value of $1.2 billion, making the firm the largest lessor of marine equipment in the United States.
“We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of the JRF portfolio,” said Bick Brooks, cofounder and CEO of Maritime Partners. “With this transaction, we’ll expand and diversify our fleet, enhancing our product offering as a one-stop solution for all marine equipment requirements. “We want to thank all stakeholders, including our lending partners at Credit Suisse and Stonebriar Commercial Finance, for supporting our growth.”
Austin Sperry, cofounder and president, added, “Six years ago we established a vision to become the leading equipment provider to the domestic marine industry. This acquisition represents the culmination of our vision. We are excited to continue to partner with the Jones Act operator community to serve as a provider of flexible vessel financing solutions.”
J. Russell Flowers Inc. was founded by Russell Flowers in 1994 and has grown to become one of the nation’s largest independent leasing companies of inland marine
barges and towboats. Upon Flowers’ death in 2017, his wife and business partner, Jill Flowers, became chairman and CEO. In 2018, Barker Price was promoted to president.
“We congratulate Maritime Partners on the successful completion of this acquisition and wish Bick and Austin great success,” Jill Flowers said. “I’m confident that Russell’s legacy and vision for the future will be furthered by this transaction. I also wish to thank our many valued customers who supported us for so many years.”
Credit Suisse AG and its affiliates provided Maritime Partners with debt financing and acted as sole lender for the transaction. Reed Smith LLP and Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert LLC provided legal counsel to the buyer. Thompson Coburn LLP provided legal counsel to the seller. RBC Capital Markets advised the seller.
A privately held company, Maritime Partners was founded in 2015.