Analyst: Marine lenders report spring sales gains

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Marine industry lenders indicate that boat sales in May and early June are up at least 7 or 8 percent, according to Wells Fargo analyst Timothy Conder.

Ongoing momentum is occurring in aluminum and small fiberglass outboards, as well as a potential stabilization in midsize fiberglass sterndrives, according to the report. A modest decline continued in large sterndrive/inboard fiberglass boats.

Geographically, industry sales in May and early June appear strongest in Florida and weakest in the West.

Despite relatively positive outlooks, the presidential election continues to contribute to fears of dipping consumer confidence.

“As the industry enters the final months of the retail selling season, concern is building among dealers and manufacturers regarding the tax, fiscal and regulatory environment post the November election,” Conder wrote. “The degree to which several of these issues are addressed more constructively than the present trajectory, the industry outlook and visibility for an ongoing U.S. marine market recovery — and potential acceleration — will be enhanced.”

Regardless, Wells Fargo predicts that Brunswick Corp., a stock it follows, will gain market share. This, along with strong international sales outside Europe, should offset weak European sales.

“For 2012, we are increasingly comfortable that the U.S. industry could be up 5 to 7 percent and the global industry 3 to 4 percent,” Conder wrote.

Post-election, that trajectory should prove more constructive.

Reagan Haynes

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