For the Record: Fiberglass Coatings exits Chapter 11 - Trade Only Today

For the Record: Fiberglass Coatings exits Chapter 11

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Fiberglass Coatings reported in mid-August that it has successfully emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and has resumed normal operations.

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"Fiberglass Coatings Inc. was able to restructure and exit Chapter 11 in one of the most challenging times our industry has ever faced, thanks to the hard work of our employees, support from our vendors and the loyalty of our customers," company president Bill Higman said in a statement.

"As the marine industry returns to more normal conditions, FCI is strongly positioned to support all the different needs of boatbuilders, boatyards and fabricators to start up, re-open or ramp up as demand for composite products and repairs grow," he added.

Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., FCI supplies marine composite products.

Furloughed workers return to Hatteras

About 200 Hatteras Yachts employees returned to work in late August, their first full week since a July 1 furlough.

"We have called back all of the hourly people who were on temporary furlough and are in the early stages of looking like we're a real business again," Bill Naumann, Hatteras Yachts chairman, told the New Bern (N.C.) Sun Journal.

The company, which once employed about 1,400 people at the New Bern plant, has been trimming for several years, with major organizational changes in 2008 that included layoffs, followed by another layoff in January that cut 330 jobs.

Hatteras was established in 1959, and acquired by Brunswick Corp., in 2001.

Injunction granted in Star brite/ValvTect suit

A federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sept. 1 granted Star brite's motion for a preliminary injunction against ValvTect Petroleum Products in a lawsuit over comparison advertisements from ValvTect.

"The court concludes that the claims in the ads in this case were not literally false, though they were misleading," U.S. District Judge James Cohn wrote in his opinion.

The court ordered ValvTect to stop running advertisements stating that certain lab tests show ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment outperforms Star brite's Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment.

"We appreciate the strength and clarity of the court's findings against the false and misleading advertising by ValvTect," Star brite CEO Peter Dornau said in a statement. "This type of false advertising not only hurts Star brite but the entire marine industry by confusing customers about the truth and fiction of ethanol fuel additives."

ValvTect president Jerry Nessenson says that the ruling did not find the ValvTect ads to be literally false.

"We are pleased that the court did not find any of our advertising claims to be false and no retraction was ordered, nor did the court order prevent ValvTect from placing future ads comparing the performance of ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment and Star Tron," he said in a statement.

"We will certainly comply with the order by modifying future ads to more accurately describe the results of new tests that are currently being run," he added.

Nessenson said the motion was only a preliminary hearing. The case is set for a hearing in March 2010, at which time ValvTect expects to present current data comparing the performance of the two products.

— Melanie Winters

Taylor Made buys Ameritex Technologies

The Taylor Made Group recently purchased the assets of Ameritex Technologies.

The business will be reconstituted as Ameritex Fabric Systems and relocated to the Taylor Made Systems facility in Bradenton, Fla. Don Zirkelbach will serve as president of Ameritex Fabric Systems.

"Our first and foremost priority is to continue to service our current, collective customer base with the utmost attention to quality and customer care for which both of our companies are known," said Dennis Flint, president of Taylor Made Group, in a statement.

Melges production moving to U.S.

Production of the Audi Melges 20 is moving to the United States, the Zenda, Wis.-based company announced.

The first series of boats were produced by McConaghy, a builder with operations in Australia, China and Hong Kong.

"Moving production back to the U.S. will potentially allow for higher availability and quicker delivery," the company said in a statement. "Right now, it's important to have production pumping in the USA. The Melges team is excited about this transition and ready to take this fast, fun and truly exciting sportboat to the next level."

Melges Performance Sailboats planned to exhibit Sept. 17-20 at the Newport (R.I.) International Boat Show and Oct. 8-12 at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Md.

Yamaha unveils 2010 offerings

Yamaha Motor Corp. recently introduced its new 242 and 240 Series boats, which it says are the largest, most feature-rich boats the company has produced.

The 242 and 240 Series replace Yamaha's 232 and 230 Series models and are designed to compete with boats priced $20,000 more, the company says.

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After collecting feedback from current Yamaha boat owners, "We created a new, larger platform, with more bow seating configurations than ever before, and a stern areas that sits just inches from the water," says Scott Watkins, product manager for Yamaha's WaterCraft Group.

Yamaha also introduced its 2010 line of WaveRunner personal watercraft at the company's annual dealer meeting. The new 2010VX models feature more spacious seating for drivers and passengers and an expanded swim platform area.

Caterpillar sees boost in marine engine sales

Caterpillar's marine engine sales were up for the three-month rolling period of May to July, compared to the same period last year, according to a dealer statistics report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sales were up 20 percent in May, 15 percent in June and 1 percent in July for the marine sector, compared to sales in those months for 2008. Sales were down in every other sector, Caterpillar reported.

Caterpillar reported a drop in worldwide sales for all its products for this same period, with North American sales down 43 percent in May, 47 percent in June and 48 percent in July.

The Latin American market saw the lowest decline in sales, with a 21 percent drop in May, 23 percent in June and 28 percent in July.

Antenna manufacturer building Far East facility

California-based Intellian Technologies has started construction of a 71,000-square-foot research-and-development, manufacturing and shipping facility in South Korea.

Scheduled for completion in February, the new facility will triple production capacity and provide six labs for increased product development and testing. Intellian says the increased capacity will allow it to accommodate growing demand for its marine satellite antennas, as well as development of larger antenna solutions.

Intellian has also increased the size of its North American research-and-  development operations with the relocation of the company's chief technology officer to its Irvine, Calif., facility and an increase in staff to address the multiple carriers, and ku- and ka-band complexity.

"Worldwide demand for our marine antenna solutions has grown substantially over the last year," said Eric Sung, president and CEO of Intellian Technologies, in a statement. "Our new facility is necessary for us to address the current and future demand, while increasing our capability to develop even greater solutions for the market."

Midwest repo center expands to Ohio

After liquidating boats from 23 dealerships since the business's inception in April, Wisconsin-based Midwest Marine Repo Center added a new location in Ohio dedicated solely to repossessed boats.

Skipper Bud's, one of the largest Midwestern boat dealers with 20 locations in the Great Lakes region, Mississippi and Florida, doubled sales at its Oshkosh, Wis., store when it branched into the boat repossession business, general manager Todd Riepe told Soundings Trade Only.

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"That's when this part of the business took on a life of its own," Riepe says. "It was just a traditional dealership, and one of our retail stores saw the signage change, and then the inventory changed. That location has doubled what it did a year prior."

Through mid-August, the Oshkosh branch of the dealership chain had sold 250 boats. The repo center is working with GE, the only major national marine floorplan lender still offering loans, and Textron, which has pulled out of wholesale marine lending but is still carrying several accounts, Riepe says.

He adds that he hopes the new location in Marblehead, Ohio, will help accommodate the liquidated boats, while cutting down on transporting costs for the large number of vessels coming from the East Coast.

— Reagan Haynes

Centurion distribution goes factory-direct

Centurion boats is welcoming more than 40 new dealers to a factory-direct relationship as the boatbuilder assumes total distribution for its products worldwide.

For nearly two decades, Centurion dealers in the western United States worked through a distributor whose contract expired.

"We are living in unprecedented times in the marine business and this is the perfect opportunity for us to galvanize the Centurion brand and grow our market share with a consistent and energizing plan under one banner," Centurion CEO Rick Lee said in a statement.

As part of this new business model, Centurion has created a new authorized dealership program and overhauled its 2010 programs to meet market conditions and inspire business partnerships. The company says its new programs have been widely embraced by dealers.

Further, the company says it has invested heavily in consumer development Web-based technology.

Venerable boat shows canceled for a year

The plug was pulled on two popular boat shows in the north.

The 11th annual Boston In-Water Boat Show, scheduled for Oct. 1-4 at the Seaport World Trade Center on Boston Harbor, was cancelled for this year, organizers announced.

"It's the state of the market. Dealers are conserving cash," show manager Warren Kelly, of Vernon Productions, told Soundings Trade Only. "We had a good chunk of it sold, but inventories are low in the field and I think dealers are just basically hunkering down for the winter."

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The show generally has about 150 exhibitors.

"This has been a major show in this region for many years and it will be back next year," Kelly said.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association cancelled this year's Toronto In-Water Boat Show, also because of the economic downturn. The show had been scheduled for Sept. 17-20.

"The show's not going away; it will come back next year," Ben Wold, executive vice president for NMMA, told Soundings Trade Only.

Next year's show is scheduled for Sept. 16-19, 2010.

Wold said the association decided to cancel the fall Toronto show after hearing from exhibitors who would prefer to focus their resources on the larger Toronto International Boat Show. That show is scheduled for Jan. 9-17.

RBFF program increases boat registrations

A recent direct-mail effort helped increase boat registrations in Oregon and raised thousands of dollars for fish and wildlife efforts.

The Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program was developed by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation in partnership with the Oregon State Marine Board and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. In April, the owners of 17,159 lapsed boat registrations, who had not renewed their registrations since 2007, were sent direct-mail pieces reminding them about the importance of renewing their registration.

A total of 765 lapsed boats were registered during the evaluation period and more than $20,000 was generated in net revenue. The new registrations also generated an estimated $25,000 in additional revenue for Oregon through state gasoline taxes and allocations from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

"We are encouraged by the results and, moving forward, we hope to expand boat registration pilot programs to additional states," RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson said in a statement.

IBEX Boatyard Tour and Roundtable detailed

The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association released an interactive e-brochure detailing its upcoming Boatyard Tour and Roundtable, scheduled to follow the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition and Conference Oct. 14-16 in Miami.

The Boatyard Tour and Roundtable provides attendees with an in-depth look at eight marine service and repair facilities, complete with daily analyses facilitated by Jim Bronstien of Marine Business Advisors.

Facilities on the tour include Lauderdale Marine Center, Harbour Towne Marine, Roscioli Yachting Center, Keystone Point Marine, Bill Bird Marina, Merrill Stevens, Haulover Marine Center and Point and Bradford Marine. The daily roundtable discussions will analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each facility on that day's agenda.

"In today's economic climate, we hope to provide participants with the tools necessary to improve their operations in every respect," says Doug Domenie, ABBRA's president.

For information, call Jessica at (401) 247-0318, or visit www.abbra.org.

ABBRA releases new edition of boatyard guide

The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association released the third edition of its Boatyard and Marina Operators Manual, now renamed the Boatyard Resource Guide.

The guide, last updated in 1996, contains 140 full-color pages of ideas, best practices and resources on a variety of subjects relevant to the operation of a marine service and repair facility.

The guide is available for $25 to ABBRA members and $175 to non-  members. Visit www.abbra.org/order-form for an order form, which can faxed to (401) 247-0074 or mailed to ABBRA, 50 Water St., Warren, RI 02885.

METS exhibitor numbers close to last year's

Stand sales for November's Marine Equipment Trade Show are virtually on par with last year's show and, in addition to securing 1,000 repeat exhibitors, METS will also welcome nearly 150 new companies, organizers say.

METS is set for Nov. 17-19 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In the METS halls, newcomers are from Italy, China, the United States, France and Germany, and in the Super-Yacht Pavilion new representation is highest from the Netherlands, Italy and the U.S., organizers say.

Exhibitors and attendees will benefit from the fresh layout of METS 2009, which revolves around the new Elicium building where the DAME Presentation and Media Plaza are located.

SNAME will meet in Providence, R.I.

The Society of Naval Architects and Engineers will host its 2009 annual meeting and expo Oct. 21-23 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

"With an expanded range of technical paper topics, more continuing education courses and new panel discussions, we believe SNAME 2009 will be even more productive for attendees," said Nancy Ostin, SNAME director of membership and marketing, in a statement.

Attendees may also participate in a golf outing and the SNAME Sailing Regatta, with racing out of Sail Newport aboard J22s.

SeaArk celebrates 50 years in business

Celebrating 50 years in business, SeaArk Boats kicked off its Golden Anniversary Celebration in August at its annual dealer meeting in Branson, Mo.

Attendees were given golden plaques for their stores recognizing them as an authorized dealer of SeaArk Boats. The McClendon family also planned a community-wide celebration Sept. 18 in Monticello, Ark.

The 50th anniversary celebration will conclude in New Orleans in December at the International Workboat Show.

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Zach McClendon Jr., along with his father, Zach McClendon Sr. and another local businessman, Norris Judkins, started MonArk Boat Co. in May 1958.

MonArk Boat eventually grew to include a large recreational division that offered aluminum and fiberglass boats and manufactured a range of products such as ski boats, pontoons, houseboats, sailboats, canoes and bass boats in addition to the basic jonboat that is still built today. Soon after inception, MonArk was asked to build a boat with a small cabin for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, and with this new product, the workboat division was born.

In 1988, the Mercury powerboat division of Brunswick purchased the recreational division of MonArk Boat Co. and, along with it, the MonArk name. McClendon retained the workboat side of the company and renamed it SeaArk Marine.

After a four-year non-compete agreement with Brunswick expired in 1992, McClendon again started building recreational products under the name SeaArk Boats. The company focused on building all-welded, heavy duty aluminum hunting and fishing boats and today has more than 100 dealers across the United States.

McClendon's children now run the day-to-day operations of the companies. His son, John McClendon, serves as president of SeaArk Marine and daughter, Robin McClendon, is president of SeaArk Boats. Zach McClendon, at 72, is still active in the business serving as chairman of the board for both companies and assisting with new product development and problem-solving consulting.

"I can't believe 50 years have passed since we built the first 12-foot jonboat," McClendon said in a statement. "I am tremendously proud of these two companies and the family of employees that have helped shape our success."

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.

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