Davie Shipbuilding is a historic shipbuilding company located in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada. The facility is now operating as Chantier Davie Canada Inc.. Davie is Canada's largest and highest capacity shipyard and one of the largest shipbuilders in North America.
|Founded||1825 - as Davie shipyard
1850 - George T. Davie & Sons
1914 - Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing
1985 - Versatile Davie Incorporated
1986 - MIL Davie Shipbuilding
2000 - Industries Davie, Limited
2006 - Davie Yards Incorporated
2011 - Chantier Davie Canada Inc.
|Headquarters||Lauzon, Quebec, Canada|
|Products||Ferries, Naval vessels, Icebreakers, Offshore|
|Owner||Chantier Davie Canada Incorporated|
|Parent||Inocea Group - former Zafiro Marine Industries Incorporated|
The Davie shipyard in Lauzon has a complex ownership history.
The Davie shipyard was founded in 1825 by Allison Davie (May 4, 1796-June 1836), an English ship captain, however the construction record only dates to 1897. The company was established on the south shore of the St Lawrence River across from Quebec City in the community of Lauzon, Quebec (now part of the city of Levis, Quebec). Davie's father in-law, George Taylor, had begun a shipbuilding business in 1811 and Davie apparently purchased those assets as well. Following Allison Davie's death, the company was headed by his wife Elizabeth Davie until 1850, when his son George Taylor Davie (1828-1907) as "George T. Davie & Sons".
It changed its name in 1914 to "Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing." The Davie family sold the shipyard to Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) in 1929, however, they also started another "George T. Davie shipyard" immediately next door to the larger Lauzon facility. The second shipyard was managed by sons Allison Cufaude Davie and George Duncan Davie, with the former taking full control following the death of the latter in 1937.
Davie's Brothers Limited remained in family ownership until 1951 and was owned by Logistec Corporation (1971) and finally Équimer (1987) before the yard closed for good in 1989.
The company built a wide range of vessels in the 1800s and first half of the 20th century, ranging from wooden sailing vessels and steamers to modern steel ships, both cargo and passenger carriers. During World War II, Davie built 35 warships (mine sweepers, corvettes and destroyers).
On October 27, 1955, the Davie yard was almost destroyed by a massive fire which started in the foundry. It lasted eight hours, and although no one was injured many employees were left unemployed for several months.
By the 1970s, Canada Steamship Lines was owned by Power Corporation and in a 1976 restructuring, it sold the Davie yard to Societé de Construction Navale (Soconav) which was established by former employees of Marine Industries Ltd with financial backing of the Quebec provincial government's Societé Générale de Financement. In 1981 the Davie shipyard was sold to Dome Petroleum and in 1985 it was sold to Versatile Corporation which changed the name of the shipyard to "Versatile Davie Incorporated".
In the 1970s to 1980s the Davie yard built oil rigs and some warships. However, after CSL ended its ownership the company began to fail. By the 1980s, the company was in financial trouble and was bailed out by both the provincial and federal governments. In 1986 the federal government asked Quebec to rationalize its shipyards. Marine Industries Ltd (MIL) merged with Versatile Davie Inc to become MIL-Davie Shipbuilding. Under this new arrangement, MIL's shipyard in Sorel, Quebec was called "M.I.L. Tracy" (for Tracy, Quebec, a neighbourhood of Sorel) and the former Davie yard in Lauzon was called "M.I.L. Lauzon." Shortly after the merger, the new company, MIL Davie Shipbuilding closed the Sorel shipyard along with the Versatile Vickers shipyard in Montreal, resulting in a total loss of 1,700 jobs but kept the Lauzon yard open as it was working on building two large vessels for Marine Atlantic and three warships for the Royal Canadian Navy's Canadian Patrol Frigate Project.
After the warship project was finished in the early 1990s, MIL-Davie Shipbuilding, along with the Davie yard in Lauzon went into receivership. After being bought by the Quebec government, Davie was sold to Dominion Bridge Company for $1. In 1998, the parent Dominion Bridge Company went into bankruptcy and the Davie shipyard went into trusteeship in 1998. It was sold again in 2000 and became "Industries Davie, Ltd". During this period, the company undertook a number of projects involving vessels and rigs which serve the offshore oil and gas market. These included the upgrade of a semi-submersible platform for Petrobras and the conversion of a vessel for pipelaying.
In 2006, the shipyard was almost auctioned in June, before it was sold to TECO Maritime ASA of Norway and was restructured into a new company called Davie Yards Incorporated. In February 2010 TECO received protection from its creditors. It employed at the time 1,000 people. Investissements Quebec held CAD$28 million in share capital, so Davie can be considered partly a SOE.
In early 2011, TECO announced that Davie Yards Inc announced a bid by Fincantieri – Cantieri Navali Italiani of Italy and Fincantieri subsidiary DRS Technologies Canada to purchase the shipyard from TECO. This deal fell through in July 2011.
After the Fincantieri deal fell through, the yard underwent financial restructuring in July 2011 in order to qualify to bid for a portion of the first stages of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) which will see ships built for the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for a total value of CAD$33 billion or $35 billion. The NSPS had its bidding deadline extended by 3 weeks specifically to accommodate the Davie restructuring.
As part of the restructuring, on 21 July 2011 Upper Lakes Groups Inc. (owner of Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. in Saint Catharines) bought the assets of the bankrupt Davie Yards Inc. The Canadian engineering conglomerate SNC-Lavalin, Upper Lakes Groups Inc. and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) had formalized the week before a joint venture to bid for the contract. The new company bore the name Chantier Davie Canada Inc.
Davie was not selected for the first contracts in NSPS program, which went instead to Vancouver Shipyards, a subsidiary of Seaspan, and Halifax Shipyards, a unit of the Irving Group of Companies. Vancouver Shipyards obtained an $8 billion contract to supply the Coast Guard, while Halifax Shipyards obtained a contract valued at $25 billion to supply the Navy. Each ship is worth $1 billion. The Davie bid was only for the Coast Guard contract. Davie had only 15 employees during this time. Provincial politicians had no power over the bidding process due to the federal nature of the contracts.
Upper Lakes, which was at the time the only owner of the yard, sold it in November 2012 to a partnership between Zafiro Marine of the UK and the Norwegian operator Cecon ASA, the latter of which encountered financial difficulties during the bid from which it emerged with its fleet intact. The Surete du Québec on 5 December 2012 opened an investigation over government interference, influence peddling, corruption on the allegations of Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who at the time was president of a failed bidder for the assets. He had previously been employed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The Government of Quebec, or its agent Investissement Quebec, had at risk $100 million. Juneau-Katsuya alleged that manager Richard Bertrand had solicited a bribe. Zafiro Marine later changed its name to Inocea and kept the Davie name for its Canadian operations.
Davie launched the MV Cecon Pride in October 2013; it was the first ship launched from the yard in over a decade. Davie CEO Alan Bowen said "This is a great day for Davie. There are only a handful of shipyards across the globe, mainly in Europe, capable of building a vessel to this specification and with this level of technology." It was the 717th ship built at the yard. The 130-metre vessel was scheduled for final delivery to Cecon ASA in February 2014. "It's used for multi-purpose applications. From pipe laying to subsea construction, to deep sea well intervention, it's really about deep sea,” said Alex Vicefield, chairman of the shipyard. Export Development Canada forgave a loan to Cecon ASA of approximately $216 million during the Zafiro-Cecon sale process, which had tied up for many years three partly finished keels: the above-mentioned Pride, the Sovereign and the Excellence.
In 2014, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley turned down Davie's bid to build Canada's next Icebreaker, saying that the $500 million that the firm's fixed price offer would save the taxpayer over the Seaspan bid was rejected "based on the credibility, the viability, the reliability of the companies".
Ships built or converted
- Restigouche-class destroyer
- HMCS Gatineau (DDE 236), 1953-1957
- Mackenzie-class destroyer
- HMCS Qu'Appelle (DDE 264), 1960-1962
- Iroquois-class destroyer
- Bangor-class minesweeper, 1940-1942
- Bay-class minesweeper, 1951-1953, 1955-1956
- Flower-class corvette, 1940
- River-class frigate, 1943-1944
- HMCS Buckingham (K685)
- HMCS Carlplace (K664)
- HMCS Charlottetown (K244)
- HMCS Coaticook (K410)
- HMCS Fort Erie (K670)
- HMCS Hallowell (K666)
- HMCS Inch Arran (K667)
- HMCS Jonquiere (K318)
- HMCS Lasalle (K519)
- HMCS Lauzon (K371)
- HMCS Penetang (K676)
- HMCS Sea Cliff (K344)
- HMCS Ste. Therese (K366)
- HMCS Sussexvale (K683)
- HMCS Toronto (K538)
- HMCS Victoriaville (K684)
- Provider-class auxiliary vessel
- HMCS Provider (AOR 508) 1961-1962
- Coast Guard and other utility vessels
- CCGS D'Iberville, Seaway icebreaker
- CCGS Griffon, light icebreaker
- CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert, medium icebreaker - now as Polar Prince
- MV Cecon Pride, 2013
- Sailing vessels
Ships built by Chantier Davie Canada
- MV Cecon Pride (offshore construction vessel) 2013
- AOR conversion of MS Asterix for Royal Canadian Navy with delivery expected in 2017
- canada.com: "Davie on the brink" 20 May 2006
- radio-canada.ca: "La Cour supérieure autorise la vente de Chantiers Davie à Upper Lakes" 21 Jul 2011
- brandonsun.com: "Potential Davie Yards investors say interest conditional on federal contract"
- radio-canada.ca: "SNC-Lavalin met fin à sa participation dans le chantier maritime Davie" 31 May 2012
- radio-canada.ca: "La Davie n'obtient aucun contrat naval d'Ottawa" 20 Oct 2011
- lapresse.ca: "Vente du chantier maritime Davie: la SQ ouvre une enquête" 5 Dec 2012
- businessweek.com: "cecon asa (CECON:Oslo Bors) - Executive Profile: Philippa D. Wright DMS, MBIMDirector, Cecon ASA", retrieved 26 May 2014
- cbc.ca: "Quebec's Davie Shipyard launches new ship Cecon Pride" 25 Oct 2013
- "Norsk Tillitsmann: Summons to Bondholders' meeting", esp see Scedule 3.
- lapresse.ca: "Débat houleux sur la vente du chantier Davie à l'Assemblée nationale" 7 Dec 2012
- Milewski, Terry (29 May 2014). "Harper government rejects offer to save $500M on new icebreaker". www.cbc.ca. CBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- Canadian Railway and Marine World magazine, July 1918, page 318
- Davie Shipyard. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 24 March 2012.