Brunswick group president talks about plant shutdown

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Brunswick Boat Group president Andy Graves says the company has not made a decision to sell the Florida plant that is ceasing operation by summertime.

“For us, those are difficult decisions, but necessary ones,” Graves told Trade Only Today on Tuesday. “The size range, 40 to 65 feet, those markets have been significantly impacted post-recession. They did not recover last year. It’s our belief that we’re kicking along the bottom and that we’ll experience a steady recovery.”

Brunswick stopped production at the plant now because the company can support the new model launches of yachts without it and is able to produce Sea Ray cruisers, sport yachts and yachts at a rate 2.5 times current market demand, Graves told Trade Only.

“As we project out over the next three or four years, we think if we have the ability to triple production in our single facility, that’s enough to meet a large number of the potential scenarios in terms of demand,” Graves added. “If the markets rebounded beyond that, we have capital investments. Based on our current views of the marketplace, we think our capacity, particularly in our fiberglass lineup, is appropriate for the way the market’s evolving.”

Brunswick announced Monday that it would suspend yacht production at its Sykes Creek facility in Merritt Island, Fla., and consolidate production at its Palm Coast, Fla., plant. Production will end in June at Sykes Creek, where about 205 people build Sea Ray and Meridian models from 51 to 61 feet.

The laborers at Sykes Creek will have opportunities to work at the Palm Coast plant, Graves said.

“We have available opportunities for our hourly and salary employees at Palm Coast, as well as at other Boat Group sites, most notably at Boston Whaler which is near Sykes Creek,” he said. “We hope to employ a large number of the affected employees at these other locations, provided they are able to manage the new commute. Unfortunately, there will be a reduction in employment across both our Sykes Creek salary and hourly employee base as a result of the plant closure.”

— Reagan Haynes

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Comments

9 comments on “Brunswick group president talks about plant shutdown

  1. bill gardella

    This news warms the little hearts of many in the BHO admin and their minions. It is exactly the outcome they seek for us evil users of carbon-based fuels, to recreate, of all things. Hang on- DC is only getting warmed up.

  2. ed

    Seeing, as how this was the flagship plant for SR yachts, this is a kick in the shorts for the industry.

    Having been to Palm Coast, and Sykes, and prior to the shut down, Merrit, this consolodation, is only the handwriting on the wall, of what will become public knowledge.

    Press releases aside, SR has taken a huge hit, as is industry knowledge, but this is the proof in the pudding.

    Time for the spin to come off, and report how the industry is, as a whole.

  3. dr

    If only Brunswick was required to report earnings by boat brand, we would have seen this coming a lot sooner.

  4. Fred Glass

    One set of 65′ molds, one of each of the 65′ parts, and one 65 footer on the finish line in the Palm Coast at the same time will pretty much fill the entire production capacity of the plant.

    They will constantly be moving very large molds from inside to outside and just out of their way period. This will be the true definition of inefficiency.

    Fail.

  5. RWGiles

    BG
    what is BHO and DC? Who are the minions? What fun!
    No matter what, this is a sad turn of events for the people that have worked so hard for many years to develop and sustain that manufacturing plant and maintain a consistant high level of quality in those Sea Ray Yachts. I am sure it will continue at the Palm Coast facility.

  6. David

    Unfortunately for all the thousands who have lost their jobs at Brunswick and others who have failed or are failing in our industry, the major cause is simply the result of forgetting the lessons of yesterday. We are thusly doomed to repeat them as memory dims.

    The marine business is not a “normal” business in any sense of the word and is ill suited to management under a typical corporate umbrella, mantra or structure. It is a personal business, with finite economics surrounding successful (profitable) operation. At a point growth can be stimulated well beyond the margins of real economics pushing the malleable edges with Madison avenue marketing schemes of the day; but at what cost?

    A chain of inefficiency begins, soon losing easy identification and the effect bedevils those with ordinary business credentials from exalted sources such as Wharton, Harvard, etc. Nuances such as the effect of the overhyped volume causing disruption at the retail level, last years “success” becoming next year’s problem in way of direct competition. Diminution of previous product value through planned obsolescence made necessary by the thirst for “numbers” demeans the trust placed by the consumer. The lessons of Harvard, et al are of scarce value on the waterfront.

    At the end of the day we are a small business, better suited to operation by small businessmen and women who labor for love and a decent living in lieu of the glory of wall street wizards praise.

    Brunswick will sell Sykes, and in all likelihood all the other overbuilt steel castles of ignorance and lack of understanding. Absent a token effort to utilize the romance of the marine industry to gloss the annual report, Brunswick will once again fade away, as they did in the early 1970s with Owens Concorde left in tatters.

    I am reminded of Napoleon and his grand army’s siege and burning of Moscow, and the war of attrition that followed until one day they simply tired of the war and turned homeward in what become a rout of former soldiers stealing their former comrades clothing, shoes and bread

    Shandong Ferretti and its tentacles will fail as well, though it has a more infinite well of capital to prop a trophy that cannot make a profit in the marketplace despite the wealth of the Chinese government and willingness to support that attempt. Perhaps it is fitting that Shandong Bertram chose to move “next door” to Brunswick’s Merrit Island-Sykes properties.

    Though I wish them no ill will, the sooner the better to allow some degree of salvage for those who labor for more than simply a paycheck. May their exit be less painful than Napoleons, but expedient.

  7. sadme

    If only the president could sell boats like like he does guns, we would be in good shape. Maybe they should be banned for excessive fuel consumption.

  8. Tom t

    Bill Gardella, you hit the nail on the head. They’re going after General Aviation next. Unfortunatly, the geniuses don’t realize that the people who build the toys are the ones who are hurt the most (the beloved lower and middle class).

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