Merrill-Stevens closing divisions

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In order to focus on its core repair and refit business, Merrill-Stevens will shut down its yacht sales and charter divisions.

“The Fort Lauderdale yacht sales division experienced some success during its three-year operation,” the company said in a statement. “However, competing yacht brokers and yacht management firms were oftentimes hesitant to refer their clients to the shipyard in the face of possible competition from an in-house sales brokerage division.”

Some administrative staff will transfer to the shipyard and four positions are being eliminated. Appropriate severance and any transitional assistance requested will be provided, the company said.

“The long-range future of the megayacht industry is strong,” said Hugh Westbrook, co-owner and chairman of the company. “Even with the unpredictability of the world economy, megayacht demand and construction worldwide remains on schedule. Our plans for an expanded and modernized mega yacht repair/refit and maintenance shipyard will continue.”

Merrill-Stevens was founded in 1885 and has operated at its present site on the Miami River since 1923.

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