Fountain receiver plans to resume production

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A temporary receiver said Wednesday that efforts are under way to get Fountain Powerboats, ProLine Boats, Baja Marine and Donzi Marine back to building boats.

“[Production] will resume shortly,” Ronald Glass, who last week was named receiver of the four builders and their assets and Palmetto Park Financial, told Soundings Trade Only.

Glass, a principal at GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group LLC, said officials are determining this week whether all of the necessary parts and equipment are in stock to ensure a smooth return to production. Operations at Fountain’s plant in Washington, N.C., where all four of the brands are built, ceased earlier this month after Liberty Associates quit providing management services to American Marine Holdings and Liberty’s affiliate transferred its nominee ownership interest in American Marine to First Capital.

Last week, North Carolina Business Court Judge James Gale named Glass the receiver in First Capital’s lawsuit against the builders and Palmetto Park Financial. First Capital is seeking $61.04 million in damages for an alleged breach of loan agreements, according to documents filed earlier this month in the North Carolina court. First Capital also alleges misappropriation of funds.

First Capital has said that operations at the North Carolina plant ceased Oct. 7 and that the executive management and production manager resigned. Employees were told to go home and not report to work until further notice.

Glass said the plant reopened about 10 days later after he was named receiver and manager. Although production has not resumed, he said “the service department is busy. The parts department is operational.”

He said orders for new boats continue to arrive and that foreign governments are among the customers that have placed orders. Glass said the companies’ plan is to complete all boats in production and begin building new ones. He said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the business will continue.

“We stand with our dealers in support of our product because the sale of the companies’ boats will enhance the financial picture of all of the companies and their dealers,” Glass said in a statement on Tuesday. “The thrust of our current effort is to get the company back on track and prepare for major displays and new product launches at the Miami International Boat Show in February.”

“My team from GlassRatner is working closely with the management of the companies — including Craig Barrie for Donzi and Baja, Alden Thornton for Fountain and Nat Rich for ProLine — to ensure their ongoing operation and the continued support of the dealer network,” he added.

Glass also said earlier this week that none of the builders will host company exhibits at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which begins today. However, several Fountain and ProLine dealers will display boats at FLIBS.

Service and warranty calls related to Baja, Donzi, Fountain and ProLine can be directed to the companies’ North Carolina headquarters at 252-975-2000 (Option 3).

— Jack Atzinger

j.atzinger@soundingspub.com

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