Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

American Export Industries, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

American Export Industries, Inc.

List of Deals

 American Export Lines began in 1919 as a steamship company called Export Steamship Corporation. The company carried cargo between Europe and New York. Export Steamship launched four cargo and passenger liners in 1931, but the Depression forced the company to reorganize in 1936 as American Export Lines.

American Export ships were used as military transports for American naval troops during the Second World War. In 1939 American Export purchased the India Service of the American Pioneer Line and in 1945 it acquired a controlling interest in American Overseas Airline.

American Export purchased Isbrandtsen Steamship Company in 1962 for approximately $6 million after the U.S. Commerce Department approved a twenty-year subsidy pact for fourteen newly acquired vessels. The company was then renamed American Export Isbrandtsen Lines.

A new holding company, the American Export Isbrandtsen Company, was created in 1964 to acquire American Export Isbrandtsen Lines, Inc., and to allow American Export Isbrandtsen to diversify. It would now be able to acquire and develop additional operations previously prohibited because of a subsidy agreement negotiated with the U. S. government.

In 1967 Dragor Shipping Corporation was merged into American Export Isbrandtsen Company, Inc., (AEIC) and the name American Export Isbrandtsen Company was changed to American Export Industries, Inc. This merger would allow the company to diversify into tanker operations. Dragor Shipping, previously known as Ward Lines, was one of the oldest shipping lines in the United States. At the time of the merger, Dragor owned four tankers with a total deadweight tonnage of 220,000 tons, making it one of the largest American-flag tankers. American Export was significantly larger, owning forty-five vessels, including forty-two freighters and the ocean liners Constitution and Independence.

American Export began diversifying in 1968 by acquiring a 19 percent interest in Detroit Steel Corporation and a 50 percent interest in Premium Iron Ores, Ltd. During 1968 it also purchased an 11 percent interest in Equity Corporation. American Export bought three more companies in 1969: Eastern Express for $10 million in cash and notes; Vigo White Trucking for $1 million; and National Equipment Rental Ltd.

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