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LeTourneau plant could be up for sale

VICKSBURG — Oil services company Rowan Cos. plans to spin off or sell its LeTourneau manufacturing business, which includes an operation in Vicksburg that employs 600.

The sale would include its land rig business, because demand in those areas appears to be strengthening.

CEO Matt Ralls said plans shelved with the onset of the recession to separate the jackup rig maker’s plants in Vicksburg and Longview, Texas, are back online.

The Vicksburg Post reports the comments from Ralls came after the Houston, Texas, company said its fourth-quarter net income fell 6 percent but was higher than analysts expected, helped by a jump in revenue from its manufacturing business.

The $150-million Joe Douglas, third in a line of 240-C class shallow water rigs built in Vicksburg, is the yard’s lone major job and will be ocean-ready by June.

Vicksburg plant manager John Massey said the 600 jobs at the riverside Vicksburg plant off U.S. 61 South are safe through June unless employees are told otherwise.

Since mid-2008 when earlier moves to spin off LeTourneau were suspended, employees have provided service work on existing rigs and on contracts for rigs built overseas.

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