For the Record: Analyst: Dealers remain cautious on inventory - Trade Only Today

For the Record: Analyst: Dealers remain cautious on inventory

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Inventory levels have improved since last year and “dealers remain healthy but conservative with their inventory positions,” according to a June report from Tim Conder, senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.

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The report followed a conference call Wells Fargo had with a leading marine industry lender that was not identified.

Brunswick, Conder says, is gaining engine share, and boat share gains have been led by aluminum and ski products. Brands such as Bayliner and Sea Ray are “lagging in [Brunswick’s] portfolio due to weaker overall industry segments. However, this is generally typical at this point in the cycle,” Conder added.

In mid-June, The Street Ratings upgraded the stock of Brunswick Corp. from sell to hold.

“The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings-per-share growth and compelling growth in net income,” according to The Street website. “However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses, including weak operating cash flow, generally poor debt management and poor profit margins.”

NMMA reports boost in wholesale shipments

The National Marine Manufacturers Association reported in June that U.S. wholesale shipments of outboard, inboard and sterndrive recreational boats were up 3.1 percent through April, compared with a year earlier.

Corresponding dollars were up 20 percent, according to the NMMA.

However, through the first quarter of 2011, wholesale shipments of powerboats were down 1.2 percent, relatively unchanged from a year earlier, according to the NMMA’s Boating News Net monthly economic report.

Advance data indicated that shipments would ebb in April.

Landing School hands out first associate degrees

The Landing School awarded its first Associate of Applied Science degrees in marine industry technology to students June 11 at its 33rd commencement ceremony.

Among the 64 graduating students, seven were degree recipients who completed two years of education and training at the post-secondary institution in Arundel, Maine.

The Landing School was given approval to grant associate’s degrees in 2009, and the class of 2011 was the first to be eligible to earn them. Students were required to successfully complete two full-time, 10-month programs and 15 credit hours of general education.

Lauderdale show plans new features

Organizers of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show say plans are under way for enhanced logistics, improved signage, a new layout at the convention center and more parking for the 52nd annual show, which runs Oct. 27-31.

Many exhibitors are requesting additional space to accommodate expanded offerings, they say. Improved signage and a more integrated digital experience are part of a revamped, strategically laid-out show, and organizers continue to work with the city of Fort Lauderdale and privately owned locations on convenient and affordable parking options for the public.

The new layout at the Broward County Convention Center will offer a strategic traffic pattern assuring that each booth space will be a prime sales location, organizers say. Educational marine activities presented by the Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show, the International Game Fish Association’s School of Sportfishing and Hook the Future also have been repositioned.

Beneteau division opens Maryland office

Beneteau has expanded operations in North America by opening a marketing and sales office for its powerboats division in Annapolis, Md. “Beneteau is widely known throughout North America as the No. 1 builder of 30-foot-plus sailing yachts, but it is a little known fact here that Beneteau also builds powerboats,” Beneteau’s Laurent Fabre says in a statement.

Fabre will lead the North American expansion for the powerboat division as vice president of sales and marketing. He has been with Beneteau for 10 years and has been instrumental in the launch of 45 new powerboat models, including two new product lines.

Other new team members include Emmanuel Arri, who joined Beneteau in France six years ago. In 2010, he was promoted to vice president of finance and administration for all North American operations. Arri now divides his time between the new Annapolis office and the sailboats division, which is based in Marion, S.C.

Maryline O’Shea is leading the marketing efforts for the powerboats division as marketing director. A new addition to Beneteau, O’Shea is also a native of France. She has spent the last 10 years working in marketing and strategic planning in the profit and non-profit sectors.

BRP gains financing for Evinrude outboards

Sheffield Financial, a division of BB&T Financial FSB, expanded its coverage of BRP power-sports products to include Evinrude outboards. By adding outboards, Sheffield, which has specialized in the power-sports industry for the last 10 years, is expanding its range of financed products, the company says.

In January, BRP agreed to exclusively endorse Sheffield’s installment financing programs for its Sea-Doo watercraft, CanAm all-terrain vehicles, side-by-side vehicles and roadsters and Ski-Doo snowmobiles sold by its U.S. dealers.

Also covered by the agreement, though not exclusively, was the Sea-Doo boat line.

Soundings Trade Only receives writing award

Soundings Trade Only received an Apex 2011 Award of Excellence in the news writing category.

The magazine won for associate editor Beth Rosenberg’s article, “Oceans have opened in South Korea,” which was published in the August 2010 issue of the magazine. It was one of 13 articles honored in the news writing category.

This is Rosenberg’s third consecutive Apex writing award.

The Apex Awards for Publication Excellence is an annual competition for writers, editors, publications staff and business and non-profit communicators. It is sponsored by Communications Concepts Inc.

Genmar creditors asked to return payments

The trustee in the Genmar bankruptcy case is asking creditors who received payments within 90 days of the June 2009 filing to return that money.

“There’s a provision under the code that if some people have been paid prior to filing and received more proportionately than other people have that then the trustee’s duty is to go after those people who received a disproportionate payment to get the money back so [it] can be redistributed proportionately to everybody,” trustee Charles Ries told Soundings Trade Only in June.

“It doesn’t mean that people I’m making claims against weren’t owed the money or anything like that,” he added. Ries says he was unsure how many creditors will be asked to return payments because the accounts were still being studied.

In January 2010, Genmar’s assets sold for $77.05 million, which was to go toward secured claims against the company, most notably money owed to banks. In the bankruptcy filings, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank were listed as being owed a combined $75 million.

The new owners purchased Genmar’s assets free and clear of liens, including any debts owed to unsecured creditors. There were about 4,000 unsecured creditors in the case and their claims exceeded $140 million.

— Beth Rosenberg

Sak Marine acquires sportfish builder

Key Largo Sportfishing Boats announced June 30 that Sak Marine now owns the company.

Sak, of Florence, Ala., also owns Caravelle Powerboats, Interceptor Performance Boats and SeaHawk Sportfishing Boats. Terms of the deal were not released.

“We appreciate that overpriced boats are struggling in the marketplace and, like our Caravelle boat model line, Key Largo can now happily deliver a great price,” Eugene Sak says in a statement about why his company chose to make the acquisition.

The new owner took control on June 21, and the Sak brothers say they wasted no time bringing the brand, which had limited production since March, back to production.

Sak Marine expects Key Largo to begin shipments of 2012 boats as soon as Aug. 15.

TUI Marine moves into Westrec marina

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Westrec Marinas’ Harbour Towne Marina in Dania, Fla., has a new tenant in TUI Marine, the marine division of TUI Travel PLC, one of the world’s leading travel and leisure companies.

TUI Marine is made up of brands such as The Moorings, Sunsail, Leopard Catamarans, Le Boat and Footloose. A major component of TUI Marine is its yacht sales division, which includes The Moorings Yacht Brokerage, Leopard Catamarans and Greenline Hybrid Yachts.

The yacht sales division will call Harbour Towne Marina home.

Industry mourns passing of veterans

The industry lost several longtime figures in May and June.

• W. Frederic Wilson, 66, of Stonington, Conn., died June 30. He owned and operated Dockside Electronics for the last 39 years and was a familiar sight at boatyards in the area.

• Frank Theodore Ongaro Jr. of Philadelphia, a designer of marine accessories, died of kidney failure June 28 at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse. He was 81.

From 1996 until retiring in 2008, he headed Ongaro Marine Ltd., which developed and patented stainless-steel control arms and knobs for boats and introduced a line of stainless-steel electric horns and windshield wipers. Ongaro had previously headed the Ongaro division of Teleflex Marine and produced a line of mechanical steering systems.

• David Fogg, a longtime sales representative with Marine Equipment & Supply Co., a Mid-Atlantic parts and accessory distributor, died May 30 after a 15-month struggle with cancer. He was 58. Fogg was a distributor salesman for more than 30 years, the last 18 with MESCO covering a large portion of its Pennsylvania territory.

• Les Groombridge, president of the former Outboard Marine Corp. of Canada from 1980-1986, died May 15 in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 86. Groombridge retired as president after 45 years with the company, having worked his way to the top job after starting as an office boy.

• Tiffany Randolph Cockrell, founder of Tiffany Yachts, died May 13 at his Virginia home. He was 89. Early in life he and his father built Chesapeake Bay deadrise workboats. After returning from World War II, Cockrell began building pleasure boats. In the ensuing years his company built more than 150 yachts, many still in use.

• Arent Hendrik Kits van Heyningen, founder of the company that became KVH Industries, died May 11 in Newport, R.I. He was 95. In 1982, Kits van Heyningen and his two sons, Robert and Martin, started Sailcomp Industries. Sailcomp became KVH Industries in 1986, and he was chief scientist until 2010.

• Harold Marshall Nix Jr., founder of Coating Technologies USA, died May 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 57. The inventor of Bristol Finish High Performance Wood Coatings started formulating Bristol Finish in the late 1980s when he couldn’t find a wood coating for his sailboat that could withstand the Florida sun.

New owners take control of boatbuilders

Two boatbuilders, one in the Northeast and the other in the Northwest, are under new ownership.

Lynn Wagemann sold his interest in Hacker Boat Co. Inc. to Erin Investments LLC, a holding company owned by George Badcock, the company announced.

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Wagemann had been president and CEO of the company. He bought Hacker in 2004 and sold an interest to Erin in 2009. Badcock and Wagemann had been working closely together since Erin bought into the Lake George, N.Y.-based company.

Badcock, who has been chairman of the company, also has assumed the role of CEO.

Founded in 1908, Hacker is a builder of classic mahogany powerboats. The company builds runabouts, sportboats, launches, tenders, racers and utilities from 24 to 35 feet.

Also in June, boatbuilder Northern Marine in Anacortes, Wash., welcomed a new owner and president in 31-year-old Andy McDonald, the company announced.

McDonald has worked twice for Northern Marine. He was originally hired as a designer, expanded his role to engineering and eventually managed seven of the company’s 12 departments. He was recruited by Freedom Yachts in Newport, R.I., where he was in charge of production for the Legacy powerboat line.

McDonald and Northern Marine’s founder, Bud LeMieux, acquired the assets of the company out of bankruptcy, and Northern Marine now has three boats under construction, the company says.

The company employs 70 and occupies 56,000 square feet of manufacturing space. McDonald says he wants the company to remain focused on building long-range luxury expedition yachts in the 57- to 164-foot range.

Herreshoff dealership opens in Rhode Island

Herreshoff Yacht Sales opened in Bristol, R.I., on the campus that from 1878 to 1945 housed the historic Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., which built America’s Cup winners such as Columbia and Reliance.

Herreshoff Yacht Sales is on the first floor of the same building as Herreshoff Designs, which is led by Halsey Herreshoff and Adam Langerman.

Herreshoff Yacht Sales is dedicated to the sales of all Herreshoff-designed craft, including those designed by Capt. Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, L. Francis Herreshoff, Sidney Herreshoff and Halsey Herreshoff. Herreshoff Yacht Sales also represents builders of Herreshoff designs, including Bristol Boat Cos.’ Herreshoff 20, Brion Rieff’s Herreshoff Alerion 26, and Artisan Boatworks’ Herreshoff 12-1/2.

Herreshoff Yacht Sales will be led by Peter Sterrett, a former development director of the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Joining Sterrett at the helm will be Peter Brewster, the founder of Brewster Boats.

New owner takes over at KO Sailing

Dinghy Planet LLC announced the acquisition of KO Sailing, a leading provider of recreational and performance sailboats, kayaks, windsurfers and accessories, on July 8.

Terms of the deal were not released.

KO Sailing’s new owner and president, Mark J. McNamara, succeeds John Kolius and plans to continue KO Sailing’s longstanding support of boat enthusiasts with a retail store in Texas and an online store.

“Nothing makes me happier than to pass the KO Sailing baton to someone with as much passion as I have for the sport,” Kolius says in a statement. “With this acquisition, KO Sailing will continue to support recreational and performance sailing for generations to come — I believe that’s very good news for the boating industry.”

Current employees will remain with the company and Kolius will take on an advisory role as a board member. The retail business will be moving in the coming months to a new location in Seabrook, Texas.

Runabout builder gains trademark status

Hornet Marine, a builder of high- performance powerboats, announced that the brand received registered trademark status through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The trademark registrations protect the Hornet Marine name and the company’s logo design.

“Receiving trademark approval is an important step as our company continues to grow,” company president David Hartmann says in a statement.

Bristol, Conn.-based Hornet Marine was established in 2009. It builds the Hornet 17, a customizable 17-foot sport runabout.

Manufacturer receives hull-coating grant

Greenfield Manufacturing Inc., a chemical manufacturing company in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., recently received $183,000 in New York State Energy Research and Development Authority funding to help commercialize and deploy a high-tech hull coating that can improve boat engine efficiency by reducing friction, the company says.

The company matched the authority’s investment.

HullSpeed High Performance Coatings, a division of Greenfield, produces eco-friendly alternatives to marine paints and coatings. HullSpeed is involved in an Environmental Protection Agency study in San Diego Harbor to determine the effectiveness of alternative, environmentally friendly marine paints and coatings. The company is also involved in a perpetual growth study in Punta Gorda, Fla., as well as many other test and development sites.

Composites One signs distribution deal

Bayer MaterialScience LLC and Composites One announced in June a distribution agreement in which Composites One will sell Bayer MaterialScience’s polyurethane resin systems directly to composite parts manufacturers throughout the United States.

The agreement covers the distribution and sale of all fully formulated Bayer MaterialScience polyurethane systems developed for use in manufacturing composite parts, particularly those manufactured through the pultrusion, resin transfer molding, vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, resin infusion and filament winding processes.

The agreement does not include the sales of Bayer MaterialScience polyurethane raw materials.

Promoter sought for Aquapalooza

Sea Ray’s Aquapalooza signature event has been so successful the company is no longer able to produce it, says vice president of marketing Rob Noyes.

“It’s been such a success that it’s absolutely outgrown our capabilities. We’re not promoters; we’re boatbuilders, and we’re in the boating business,” Noyes says. “We’re looking for promoters who might be interested in it. It’s a great event. It just needs somebody who can organize it.”

There will be no signature event this year, although smaller events are being held around the country this summer.

Noyes says an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people attended the 2010 signature event, which was held at The Reserve at Lake Travis near Austin, Texas. Country music star Brad Paisley was the headliner.

— Beth Rosenberg

This article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue.

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