Two Charleston companies played a vital role in the formation of a new super tier-1 manufacturer.
Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C.-area private investment firm, has formed Keel Holdings LLC, a manufacturer of complex structures for the highest priority programs within the Navy, Army, and Air Force, according to a news release.
The company was formed through the merger of Arlington portfolio company and Charleston-based Pegasus Steel with the newly completed acquisitions of Metal Trades LLC, which is based in Hollywood, South Carolina, and Merrill Technologies Group.
With more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing floor space and approximately 700 employees, Keel will offer its customers a vertically integrated suite of design, engineering, fabrication, machining, integration, assembly, finishing and surface treatment capabilities across its nine facilities in Michigan and South Carolina, the release stated.
“Keel will play a pivotal role in delivering significant capability growth to the U.S. defense industrial base,” Carter said in the release. “Our efficient and effective approach positions us to increase the speed of delivery and production for the country’s highest priority defense programs. I look forward to working alongside the talented teams from Pegasus, Metal Trades, and Merrill, whose hard work and expertise have laid the foundation for Keel’s emergence as a formidable and positive force in the defense industry.”
Related content: MANUFACTURING MINUTE: BASF executive on the importance of DEI
The company’s locations include a facility strategically located with direct frontage to deep water that allows for large module delivery by barge to submarine and aircraft carrier customers, the release stated. Led by CEO Brian Carter, the Keel delivers a robust set of capabilities to meet the growing demands of the nuclear Navy and critical programs within the broader Department of Defense, industrial and commercial end markets, the release stated.
Merrill Technologies Group is a leading manufacturer of large metal parts and structures, providing design, engineering, machining, fabrication, and integration solutions for the defense, aerospace, and industrial markets.
Metal Trades is a critical provider of large-scale metal fabrication and ship repair services to the Navy, Army, and commercial customers. Founded in 1962 by J.E. Corbin near Charleston, and most recently owned and operated by Rusty Corbin and his family, the company has a longstanding working relationship with Pegasus and just completed the construction of more than 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space along the South Carolina waterfront, the release stated.
“This family business has been built over generations and we are pleased that it will continue to provide employment while serving an important role strengthening our national security,” Corbin said.
Founded in 2007 in Charleston by Tony Deering and acquired by Arlington in June 2023, Pegasus is a leading provider of complex fabricated steel structures used in submarine, aircraft carrier, and other naval and industrial systems.
DLA Piper and Morrison Foerster served as legal counsel and Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to Keel and Arlington. Charter Capital Partners served as financial advisor and Butzel Long served as legal counsel to Merrill Technologies Group. Mensura Capital, LLC and Mensura Securities, LLC (member FINRA and SPIC) served as financial advisors and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP served as legal counsel to Metal Trades.n