For the Record: Genmar wins delay to file revamp plan

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Genmar Holdings has until Nov. 4 to file its plans for reorganization, a judge in U.S. bankruptcy court in Minnesota has ruled.

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In addition, the period in which Genmar has exclusive rights to obtain acceptances of such plans was extended to Jan. 3, 2010.

When Genmar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, it was given until the end of September to file its reorganization plan. The company had asked the court for the right to file through Dec. 31 and to extend the period in which it may obtain acceptance of such plans through Feb. 28, 2010.

In the order granting the extension, the judge noted that only the Committee of Unsecured Creditors had objected to giving Genmar additional time to file.

When it filed its motion for the extension, Genmar said the case is large and complex, with 22 debtors filing separate petitions and schedules.

"Collectively, these debtors have in excess of 7,000 creditors, with hundreds, if not thousands, of executory contracts and leases," the court paper says. "Thus, the size of these cases alone establishes grounds for extending the exclusivity periods."

Also, court documents note, Genmar recently began to implement exit strategies, such as sale of assets, and these transactions will form the basis of any plan.

"These transactions are contemplated to close or solidify by the middle of December 2009," according to court documents.

Boat International USA merging with ShowBoats

Boat International Media acquired the monthly ShowBoats International magazine and associated publications, events and Web sites from CurtCo Media LLC.

"We will continue to invest in ShowBoats International and will merge our U.S. magazine, Boat International USA, with it [starting with] the next issue. We expect to launch new events and Web businesses for the U.S. superyacht market without delay," CEO Tony Harris said in a statement.

Rebecca Cahilly, editor of Boat International USA, will become editor of the combined title ShowBoats International.

Gary De Sanctis, former publisher of ShowBoats International, will join CurtCo's Robb Report team and additionally act as a consultant to Boat International Media for a six-month period to assist in a smooth and successful handover.

Strictly Sail Miami is shifting locations

Strictly Sail Miami is making a temporary move to Sea Isle Marina for 2010 to address exhibitor space needs and ensure Strictly Sail Miami is viable in the years ahead.

The 25th annual Strictly Sail Miami is scheduled to take place Feb. 11-15.

The show is moving from its traditional location, Miamarina at Bayside, a venue not fitting for the projected scope of the 2010 show, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Sail America. The show is co-locating with the in-water powerboat portion of the Miami International Boat Show, a traditionally heavy-traffic area of the five-day event.

Strictly Sail Miami 2010 will occupy Pier 5 at Sea Isle Marina, which holds up to 55 sailboats; 16th Street, which will showcase all sail-related booths from accessories to travel; and the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Church parking lot, which will hold Strictly Sail Miami's seminars, special events and features.

Sales up at Deep Impact and Yamaha WaterCraft

Yamaha and Deep Impact reported an increase in sales this summer.

Yamaha WaterCraft Group says sales across its two product lines, Yamaha WaveRunners and 21- and 23-foot boats, rose in August from prior-year figures.

The company would not release specific sales figures, but said year-over-year sales of WaveRunners increased 13 percent, while boat sales rose 44 percent.

Deep Impact also experienced an increase in sales during the summer.

"It's refreshing to see the prospective buyers and the continued interest in the Deep Impact line despite the tough economy," said Carl Hansen, of Plantation Boat Mart & Marina, in a statement.

Mercury asks court to toss bonus claims

Mercury Marine, in court documents, denies all allegations that it failed to pay bonuses that were promised to about 100 managers if they achieved significant cost savings across the company.

It is asking the court to dismiss all claims against it "with prejudice" and award Mercury Marine costs and fees allowed by law and any other relief the court deems proper.

A lawsuit against Mercury was filed in September in Wisconsin's Fond du Lac County Circuit Court by Henry Hegel, a Mercury manager who lives in North Carolina. The company filed papers to have the case transferred to federal district court in Green Bay, Wis.

In court documents filed Sept. 18 by Mercury, the company says it, "denies the existence of any purported class, both as a matter of law and of fact, and denies that any member of the putative class was denied incentive compensation. ... [and] denies all allegations as asserted with respect to any class."

Mercury says a meeting with management personnel took place on or around April 14-15, 2008, during which a pilot incentive compensation program was discussed. However, it denies that the pilot was explained or described by Mark Schwabero or Kevin Grodzki but "admits that Steve Cramer did explain and describe the general concepts associated with the pilot program." (At the time of the meeting, Schwabero, Grodzki and Cramer had been jointly leading Mercury since Patrick Mackey's retirement.)

However, court documents state, "Mercury Marine denies that the program was consistent with the allegations."

Mercury acknowledges that various cost-saving actions took place in 2008 and some were related to a reduction in employees. It also claims it said at the time, "It would be inappropriate to provide incentive compensation bonuses to upper management employees."

Hegel, in his suit, says Mercury executives met with about 100 management employees in April 2008 to discuss a bonus incentive plan aimed at reducing costs. The managers were asked "to take difficult and aggressive steps, which required above and beyond their normal duties to achieve company-wide cost savings."

In exchange, the managers were promised a bonus at the end of calendar year 2008 amounting to 10 percent of the cost savings achieved. Those cost savings totaled about $78 million. However, in early 2009, Mercury notified plan participants that it had decided not to pay out any bonuses, according to the suit.

The complaint seeks recovery of allegedly owed wages on behalf of Hegel and the purported class. This includes $7 million for the bonuses, plus a civil penalty of 50 percent, bringing the total award request to more than $10 million.

NMMA hails introduction of ethanol bill in Senate

Legislation designed to protect boaters and manufacturers from the problems associated with midlevel ethanol blends in gasoline was introduced Sept. 14 in the U.S. Senate.

The Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Act of 2009, S. 1666, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; and Mary Landrieu, D-La.

The Clean Air Act prohibits the sale of midlevel ethanol blends, but the ethanol industry is seeking a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency to sell E15 as a general-purpose fuel. The new bill requires that the EPA's Science Advisory Board study the compatibility of such fuels with current engines before a waiver can be granted.

The study would also include a comprehensive analysis of available independent scientific evidence on the compatibility of midlevel ethanol fuels with the emission requirements of the Clean Air Act and the operability of engines.

"This legislation validates a science-first approach to ethanol policy and shines the spotlight on the myriad of issues associated with hasty attempts by ethanol advocates to introduce mid-level ethanol blends into the marketplace," NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

Propulsion company buys thruster firm

ZF Marine acquired HRP Nederland b.v. with all subsidiaries, with production locations in the Netherlands and Indonesia as well as sales and service locations worldwide.

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HRP, which has about 250 employees worldwide, produces a range of steerable thrusters, including well-mounted thrusters, retractable thrusters, tunnel thrusters and controls, available in fixed-pitch, CP and CRP versions.

"We can swiftly apply HRP's extensive propulsion know-how for our future growth in the commercial craft market segment," said Roland Heil, ZF Marine CEO, in a statement.

Industry mourns two of its veterans

Longtime marine industry professional Frederick William "Skip" Gardner III passed away in Clermont, Fla., following a battle with leukemia. He was 66.

Gardner's career began as a charter captain and professional fisherman. His passion for the water and ability to create, build and maintain business relationships drove him to become a respected sales professional, said longtime colleague and friend Joe Curran.

Gardner held regional and national sales positions at companies including Hydra-Sports, Topaz, Wahoo, Robalo, Bayliner (US Marine), Wellcraft and Chris Craft.

"We were fortunate to have Skip as part of our lives," Curran told Soundings Trade Only.

Also, industry veteran and longtime Furuno executive Roy Thompson, 68, has died of lung cancer.

Upon graduating from electronics school in the U.S. Navy, Thompson started working for Raytheon Marine Co. Years later, he worked for ITT Decca and in 1980 was part owner of Dolphin Electronics, which represented Furuno.

In 1984, Furuno USA determined that the company needed direct sales staff, and Thompson was appointed regional sales manager of the Southern New England and New York region.

In 1989, Thompson was promoted to marketing manager of Furuno and was transferred to company headquarters in San Francisco. In 1997, Furuno USA relocated to Camas, Wash., where Thompson remained marketing manager. In 2000, he took on the management of Furuno USA's Special Products and Fisheries Department.

In January 2007, after 23 years with Furuno USA, Thompson had to retire because of his illness.

Retail giant MarineMax is closing more stores

MarineMax continues to close stores in response to economic conditions and expected to have around 55 locations by October, president and CEO William McGill said in an e-mail to Soundings Trade Only.

"With a market for new sales going from over 300,000 new units per year to estimates of around 130,000 this calendar year, it is prudent for MarineMax to adjust and right-size our company, not only from an inventory perspective but also expense standpoint," McGill said.

At its height, MarineMax had 92 stores. McGill did not specify where the closings would take place.

"We have continued to evaluate our footprint with an emphasis on determining if the market justifies our being there or if we can better leverage adjacent stores and still serve our customers," McGill said. "When October arrives, we will be in the neighborhood of 55 locations, with many of the team members from the closed stores relocated."

— Beth Rosenberg

Raymarine partners with Ranger Boats

Raymarine is partnering with Ranger Boats to offer electronics packages as a factory-installed option on the boatbuilder's Bay Ranger line of saltwater boats.

Raymarine is offering two Flats Class electronics packages on select Bay Ranger boats. The optional Flats Class packages consist of either Raymarine's new C90 Widescreen Multifunction Display or the new A50D GPS/chart plotter/fishfinder combination unit.

Raymarine Flats Class packages are available on Bay Ranger 2000, 2200, 2310, 2400 and 2410 models.

29 new models to join Beneteau's boat lineup

The Beneteau Group plans to offer 29 new models for the 2009-'10 season, compared with 18 new models it introduced for the current season.

These new offerings are accompanied by an "innovative pricing policy" that will be in place until the end of 2009, the company said. The Beneteau Group includes Beneteau, Jeanneau and Lagoon models.

"By adapting its work force and organization to the downturn ... the Beneteau Group has sought to safeguard the expertise and know-how that will enable it to deliver the level of perfection demanded by its customers and capitalize on an upturn in demand," the company said in a statement.

Palm Beach Yachting combines operations

Palm Beach Yachting Inc. - owner of Palm Beach Yacht Sales, Palm Beach Yacht Charters and Palm Beach Yacht Services - has combined all four companies, branded and trademarked under Palm Beach Yachting.

The company is run by B.G. Sykes, an attorney who specializes in marine and aviation law. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Boston College Law School and Boston College Graduate School of Management.

"The companies are being combined so that we will have uniform communication with our customers," Sykes said in an e-mail to Soundings Trade Only. "It will no longer be necessary for customers to differentiate between Palm Beach Yacht Charters, which may manage or book their yacht, and Palm Beach Yacht Services, which provides repair and upgrade work, or Palm Beach Yacht Sales, which helps them buy or sell their yacht."

The company is seeking brokers and certified service technicians for its growing business. For details, contact Sykes at (561) 842-0800, ext. 102, or e-mail bg@pbyacht.com.

This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue.

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