Northrop Grumman proposes shipyard name change

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Northrop Grumman executives have not decided whether to sell their shipyards, or spin off that segment of their business into an independent company. What we learned Wednesday is if they choose the spin off plan, they've already come up with a name for their shipbuilding operation.

The shipyards in Pascagoula, Gulfport and Newport News, Virginia will be called Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Why Huntington Ingalls? Because Huntington refers back to the roots of the Virginia shipyard. And Ingalls references the early days of the Pascagoula shipyard.

As soon as we learn something about whether the shipyard will get a new name, or a new owner, you'll hear about it on WLOX News and

Below is the full letter sent to shipyard employees Wednesday concerning the name change:

Dear Shipbuilders:

As you know, this past July Northrop Grumman Corporation announced it is exploring strategic alternatives for its Shipbuilding business. One of the potential strategies is a spin-off of the shipbuilding business as an independent, publicly-owned company.

As part of the process to pursue this path, Northrop Grumman is required to file certain documents and information with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This information is filed in a document called a Form 10, the first of which was filed this past October. An amendment to the Form 10 was filed today and it will include the name for the potential new company and a prospective, non-executive Chairman of the Board. I want to share this information with you today.

If Northrop Grumman Corporation does decide to spin the Shipbuilding business, we expect to perform our shipbuilding work as part of and operate under the brand of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. This name builds upon the strong legacies of our shipbuilding divisions - Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Collis P. Huntington founded Newport News Shipbuilding in 1886 and the Huntington family played prominent roles in the shipyard business in Newport News for more than 50 years.

Ingalls Shipbuilding was established in 1938 by the Ingalls Iron Works of Birmingham, Alabama, a company founded by the Ingalls family with Robert I. Ingalls, Sr. at the helm.

I believe the Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. name, by highlighting the legacies of our shipbuilding businesses that stretch back nearly 125 years, provides us the right foundation upon which to build our future as an independent, publicly-traded company.

Importantly, if we do become an independent company, we would also use the legacy Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding names for our shipbuilding divisions (today referred to as NGSB-Newport News and NGSB-Gulf Coast).

Incorporating the names of our founding families and legacy companies into our new enterprise would build upon our long-standing traditions of demonstrated commitment to quality, customer focus, and building the best military ships in the world. These names also reflect our recognition of you, our talented shipbuilders, who rightly and strongly identify with these great shipbuilding names and the heritages they reflect.

With regard to the named Chairman of the Board if we become a publicly-traded company, the selection of Thomas B. Fargo, Admiral, United States Navy (Ret) is an excellent and thoughtful choice. Tom Fargo knows our business and our customers very well, and his insight, knowledge and perspective will be of great value as we build this "new" business.

A current member of the Northrop Grumman Corporation Board of Directors, he served as Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, leading the largest unified command while directing the joint operations of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force from May 2002 until his retirement in March 2005. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Fargo's 35 years of service included six tours in Washington, D.C. in addition to five commands in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Middle East. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Hawaiian Electric Industries and the United States Automobile Association among others.

Please know that I am very excited about our future no matter what the outcome. It's very important to remember that this new company name and prospective, non-executive Chairman of the Board being named is part of the process of exploring a spin-off, and that no decision has been made. The filing of this information is part of a required process and, until a decision is made, we will continue to operate as part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation as Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding.

I ask for your support and your continued focus on performance and building the best military ships in the world. Our performance is what will best enable us to help shape our future.

Mike Petters
Corporate Vice President and President

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