Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group announced Jan. 10 that it reached agreements with the major creditors of the Ferretti Group to acquire a controlling interest in Ferretti by participating in Ferretti’s debt restructuring.
“Ferretti, which possesses iconic international brands, state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, products of the highest quality and an extensive sales network, is an ideal partner with strong strategic values,” SHIG-Weichai Group chairman Tan Xuguang said in a statement.
Through an investment of 374 million euros, or about $476 million, SHIG-Weichai Group will acquire a 75 percent interest in the yacht builder after the completion of debt restructuring procedures. RBS and funds under the management of Strategic Value Partners will invest alongside SHIG-Weichai, and both will become 12.5 percent shareholders.
Through the acquisition, Ferretti’s capital structure will be fully restructured with an equity capital increase of 100 million euros, or about $127 million, and total debts reduced to a reasonable level of about 100 million euros.
After the acquisition, the group will retain Ferretti’s key management team, headquarters and production bases in Italy, according to SHIG-Weichai Group.
“We are strongly convinced that this partnership will lead to very satisfactory results and will provide Ferretti Group with a strong capital base that will allow the development of long-term growth plans,” Ferretti Group chairman Norberto Ferretti said in a statement. “Moreover, China is one of the most rapidly developing countries for the yachting sector and has great potential for the coming five to 10 years.”
Mercury Marine, Cummins announce supply agreement
Mercury Marine and Cummins announced a transition in December from their Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Marine joint venture to a strategic supply arrangement between the two companies to more effectively and efficiently serve customers in the global diesel marine market. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
All business activities will move from CMD to the parent companies, and the transition is expected to be completed by the middle of this year. CMD will conduct business as usual through the transition.
“Cummins and Mercury Marine will each utilize their respective parent company resources to develop, manufacture, sell, distribute and service diesel engines, drives, pods and related parts, accessories and services,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The announcement follows the decision in October that CMD’s High Speed Diesel line will shift to Mercury, which will integrate the line into its product portfolio and sell, service and support these products through its global sales and distribution network. Mercury will offer its drives, riggings, engine control systems and propellers through those same distribution channels. Cummins will continue to use Mercury drives and control systems in conjunction with its extensive offering of mid-range and heavy-duty marine engines.
Cummins and Mercury established the CMD joint venture in 2002.
Wholesale shipments continue to climb
Through the third quarter, wholesale shipments of boats were up 13 percent and corresponding dollars were up 22 percent for the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s control group of manufacturers, the group said in its monthly economic report in December.
Advance data indicated that through October, wholesale shipments of traditional powerboats were up 14 percent from a year earlier; corresponding dollars were up 23 percent.
New powerboat registrations were down 7 percent on a rolling 12-month basis through June, compared with a year earlier. Advance estimates indicated that sales would be up 4.5 percent on a rolling 12-month basis through October, the NMMA says.
Recreational boat and marine engine export volumes were up 13 percent in the third quarter of 2011, and dollars were up 3 percent from a year earlier. Corresponding import volumes were up 4 percent, and dollars were up 0.8 percent, according to the association.
Boatbuilders announce expansions, startups
Positive signs on the boatbuilding front continued to emerge as 2011 segued into the new year.
Fort Myers, Fla.-based Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats says it is expanding into the offshore saltwater fishing boat market with a plan that includes new models, new dealers and a personnel acquisition.
Known as a builder of custom performance vee-bottoms and catamarans, Nor-Tech recently expanded its lineup to include an array of diverse new models, including an 80-foot sport yacht and 34-foot and 39-foot luxury/performance center consoles.
Now the company plans to target the saltwater fishing boat market with a line of tournament-ready center console fishing boats.
To assist in the expansion, Nor-Tech hired industry veteran Alden Thornton as national saltwater sales manager and fishing team manager.
Nor-Tech also says an expansion of the company’s dealer network is under way. New dealers include Bent Marine in New Orleans; South Austin Marine in Austin, Texas; and Marker 17 Marine in Wilmington, N.C.
In another business move, Sportsman Boats Manufacturing, a new builder of saltwater fishing boats, announced plans in December to establish a new facility in Dorchester County, South Carolina. The $2 million investment is expected to generate 30 new jobs.
The company will produce boats ranging in size from 20 to 25 feet and will initially build deep-vee center consoles and bay boats. The company expected to begin manufacturing operations early this year.
The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved the company for job development credits, which will be available when hiring targets are met.
Johnson Outdoors, Navico settle lawsuit
Johnson Outdoors Inc. and Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics Inc., and Navico Inc. jointly announced in January that they resolved their dispute related to Johnson Outdoors’ patented Humminbird Side Imaging sonar technology and Navico’s StructureScan accessory to its displays.
“As a result of the settlement, the case has been dismissed,” the companies said in a statement. “The companies have mutually agreed that the terms of the out-of-court settlement will remain confidential.”
In 2010 Johnson Outdoors filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico for selling certain fishfinding equipment. Johnson Outdoors said its side-imaging sonar produces detailed and recognizable images of underwater objects and bottom structures, enabling anglers to pinpoint habitat, structure and drop-offs that are prime holding areas for fish.
The company’s complaint said Navico expended substantial resources to inform the trade and relevant purchasers of fishfinding products that it, too, would use side-scan technology to compete directly with Humminbird, knowing that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had approved the patent.
Bavaria Yachts plans factory-direct locations
Bavaria Yachts said in January that it plans to open factory-direct locations in Newport, R.I., the Great Lakes (Chicago) and the San Francisco Bay area by the end of the year.
In 2011, Bavaria Yachts USA launched a new direct-business model, starting with its flagship location in the heart of Annapolis, Md.
“Based on the tremendous demand and market feedback coming from the premiere of the all-new Cruiser line at the 2011 U.S. Boat Show in Annapolis, Bavaria is expanding the current sales/service/charter footprint to directly serve the Northeast, Great Lakes and Northern California markets,” the company said in a statement.
The new locations will offer direct sales of Bavaria Yachts built to each owner’s specifications, the ability to charter a new Bavaria, limited opportunities for owners to put their boat into charter to defray expenses and customer service focusing solely on Bavaria owners.
Each new location will include a dedicated Horizon Yacht Charters base.
This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue.