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Group interested in buying Miami boatbuilder

Latitude Industries Inc., a Miami-based manufacturer of offshore high performance sport and center console boats, has received interest from an international group regarding a possible buyout.

"We were recently approached by an international group who is looking to burst into the U.S. boating market,” said Latitude CEO Carolina Hernandez in a statement. “While we had not been considering selling the business, the interest we received has given us reason to listen."

As a publicly traded company, Latitude said it has a duty to its shareholders to examine all offers. Management has declined to make any comments until it completes a thorough verification process both of the buying party and any buyout tender offer made.

Last month Latitude Industries reported sales of about $600,000 since Jan. 1. This was a nearly 50 percent increase from the same period in 2007. The company is projecting $6 million in revenue for 2008.

The company’s shares are traded as over-the-counter stocks. These stocks are not listed in a formal exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, usually because the company is small and unable to meet exchange listing requirements.

Latitude Industries was founded by the Hernandez family in 1995 under Stealth Marine Inc. The company built more than 30 boats between 1995 and 1998. In 1998, a joint venture between Midnight Express and Navigator Powerboats, a subsidiary of Latitude Industries, was founded to build the 39-foot and the 37-foot Wide Body Midnight Express. Since 1998, the company has built more than 200 boats.

This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue.

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