Book closes on sale of Genmar’s assets


Eight months after filing for bankruptcy last June, Genmar Holdings closed on the sale of its boating-related assets and certain other non-core assets.


As of Feb. 1, Platinum Equity, of Beverly Hills, Calif., owns the Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns and Glastron boat brands; manufacturing facilities and related operations in Flippin, Ark., Cadillac, Mich., and Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and certain transportation equipment and other real estate assets. Genmar previously had completed the sales of Genmar Yacht Group, which includes Marquis and Carver, to J&D Acquisitions and Hydra-Sports to MCBC Hydra Boats.

Platinum Equity purchased the majority of Genmar's assets for $70 million at auction in January. J&D Acquisitions, which is controlled by Genmar founder Irwin Jacobs and John Paul Dejoria, paid $6.05 million for Carver and Marquis, while MCBC Hydra Boats paid $1 million for Hydra-Sports.

Platinum appointed David Huls president and CFO of the new consolidated corporate holding company. He previously served as senior vice president and CFO of Genmar Holdings.

"The last eight months have been extremely difficult for our employees, dealers and suppliers," says Huls. "I'm grateful for everyone's support and cooperation as we worked through so many challenges. It hasn't been easy and we have a lot of hard work ahead, but through a renewed spirit of collaboration we will all prosper together."

Platinum also announced the executives who will lead the various brand operations. Randy Hopper will continue to serve as president of Wood Manufacturing - a position he has held for more than 20 years - and will oversee Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats and Champion. Wood Manufacturing will be managed independently of the other brands.

"We couldn't be more pleased," says Hopper. "Our capital structure going forward will allow us to keep our focus where it should be - building the most sought-after fishing boats in the world."

Company founder Forrest Wood also is happy with new ownership. "The Ranger family is full of wonderful, talented folks and [we] are so proud to be a part of it all," he says. "We look forward to continuing the programs that have served Ranger well for more than 40 years."

Jeff Olson will continue to serve as president of Four Winns and Wellcraft, and Mike O'Connell has been appointed to the newly created position of president of Glastron Boats. "Partnering with Platinum Equity presents exciting new opportunities for our employees, dealers, suppliers and other business partners," says Olson. "Platinum is an experienced investor with a strong track record of helping businesses reach their full potential and we are excited to have them as partners."

In addition to the Genmar Yacht Group, J&D Acquisitions purchased other newly acquired assets from Platinum Equity, including Larson, Seaswirl and FinCraft, along with the Little Falls, Minn., manufacturing facility that builds those boat brands; the Seaswirl manufacturing facility in Culver, Ore., and all of its related assets; VEC Technology LLC; the Triumph boat brand and related assets; and the Windsor Craft brand and related assets.

"We are very pleased that our negotiations with Irwin and his team culminated in this transaction. It was a quick and efficient process between parties who share a mutual respect," says Louis Samson, a principal at Platinum. "We strongly believe J&D is the most logical owner for these assets."

Terms of that deal were not disclosed.

"I'm very pleased that, after the completion of the bankruptcy auction and approval process, we were able to negotiate an acceptable transaction with Platinum that will allow us to keep the Larson Boat factory in Little Falls open and continue to build some of the finest recreational boats in the world," Jacobs says.

"It is my hope that over time we'll be able to bring back many, if not most, of the Larson factory employees who've been laid off over the past 18 months," he adds.

In early February, Jacobs said "everything is really, really active," as he gets these boat lines back up and running, and that things are going better than he expected. The Little Falls plant is booked through the third week in March, he says, and planning is under way to come out with new, innovative designs for the boat lines. Also, he says, the company is looking into moving the Triumph line from North Carolina to an existing facility.

"It's really amazing to me, from such a low I was going through in this whole process to what a high I'm going through right now," he says. "It's exciting to come to work again. We're building rather than tearing down."

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue.


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