Azimut Yachts sales see increase at MarineMax

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Azimut Yachts is capitalizing on a Sea Ray backlog in MarineMax stores.

Although buyers of the two brands often are different customers, MarineMax CEO Bill McGill told analysts and investors during a conference call Thursday that some customers are swayed by the fact that the Sea Ray inventory isn’t there.

“The smaller products are doing well and we do not have a new 50 from Sea Ray, as an example,” McGill said. “It will be coming, but in the 40-foot and 50-foot range, we are still struggling with some of the older product. And Azimut is a great opportunity, understanding that in some cases they are different buyers, but in some cases, when someone wants a new 50 and we don’t have it with Sea Ray, they will buy the Azimut.”

However, McGill said the demand for the new Sea Rays is very strong and that he does not think the company will permanently lose market share.

“When we call out the larger Azimut, Hatteras and Ocean Alexanders” as selling well, “those really don’t compete with what Sea Ray is bringing into the marketplace, but we are talking 70 feet and above,” McGill said. “And so our specific comments would not impact or correlate with the strength or the cadence of product coming out of Sea Ray from the 65s or the 59s.

“We certainly see very strong interest in customers for those models. And once the models are fully integrated and out in the field, we think Sea Ray is going to have dramatic share growth with really any of the new models we’re bringing out,” McGill said. “That’s what the story has been so far. So we think whatever share they’ve lost, they’ll gain that share back.”

Same-store sales rose 45 percent during the company’s fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 31, and unit growth was near 25 percent for boat sales, CFO Michael McLamb said. But those numbers are driven by “a handful” of new sales.

“It doesn’t take too many $5 million or $6 million yachts to add a fair amount of revenue in a small quarter like the December quarter,” McLamb said. “January is going to be a good month, but I have to repeat that January is a small month in the quarter. So I think the key point is, if you look at January and February and combine them, March is as big as the two of those combined. And so, our cautionary language — well, certainly trends right now are encouraging.”

McLamb cautioned that weather is a huge factor at this time of the year.

“We are encouraged by what we are seeing at the boat shows … but you know we are also very cautious,” McLamb said. “You know, as an example, Boston got hammered — you all missed it, everybody missed it in New York with the blizzard, but you know a few events like that can have a dramatic impact on the March quarter, as we’ve seen in the last couple of years. So, we just … need to get through the March quarter and in the June quarter we’ll know a lot better.”

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