N.C. investor acquires Albemarle Boats

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Brunswick Corp. sold Albemarle Boats to private investor Scott McLaughlin, of Raleigh, N.C.

“By selling Albemarle, we will pare redundancies in model offerings among our other offshore boat brands and will further reduce our North American manufacturing footprint, a key strategy moving forward,” Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera told Soundings Trade Only Jan. 6.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed by either Brunswick or McLaughlin.

“It’s a brand name that I’ve had recognition of since I was a child,” McLaughlin told Soundings Trade Only. “My family roots are very close to the proximity of this [plant] location. I had another boat manufacturing operation that I was able to roll into this and get some efficiencies that way.”

McLaughlin says he has been building convertible flybridge boats in a neighboring plant. Burch Perry, Albemarle senior vice president and general manager, says these boats will eventually tie in to the Albemarle line.

Albemarle is based in Edenton, N.C., and builds offshore fishing boats in a range of 24 to 41 feet. It has 23 employees and plans to add more if demand grows.

“We have appropriate staff for the current market conditions,” McLaughlin says.

Perry says the plant has the capacity to build as many as 100 to 120 boats a year, depending on the model mix.

“Our plans revolve solely around focusing on our product,” Perry says. “As part of Brunswick we had to fit into a bigger picture, and at this point we’re not at all concerned about that anymore. In my opinion, it makes us more nimble  — able to react to situations in the market.”

In addition to Albemarle, McLaughlin also owns other real estate in the area, including the Cypress Cove Marina in Columbia, N.C.

“Obviously, the boat market is challenged at the moment, but it’s going to get better,” he says. “It’s a good time to purchase a boat [line].”

This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.

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