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Beneteau Group acquires Rec Boat Holdings

The Beneteau Group announced it bought Rec Boat Holdings, a group of U.S. brands owned by Platinum Equity Group, which includes Michigan-based Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Scarab.

Beneteau says the acquisition is in line with the group’s development strategy for the North American market. The private equity group retains ownership of Flippin, Ark.-based Fishing Boat Holdings, maker of the Ranger, Triton and Stratos boat brands that were also acquired at that time.

Based in Cadillac, Mich., the company has revenue of about $150 million and employs 475 people. It has a network of more than 200 dealers across North America and its entry into the Beneteau Group will “enable it to expand its access to the European and global markets,” the company said.

“After launching sales of motorboats over 12 meters in 2010, the group is embarking on the second phase of its project, with motorboats under 12 meters, which requires an industrial investment in America,” Beneteau said in a statement. “On its own, this segment accounts for nearly 40 percent of the overall motorboat market in the United States.”

California-based Platinum Equity Group’s PBH Marine Group announced that it had bought the brands out of bankruptcy in 2010, purchasing essentially all of the assets of Genmar Holdings for $70 million.

PBH purchased 11 brands, including Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns, Larson, Glastron and others, Soundings Trade Only reported at the time.

Carver and Marquis were purchased for $6.05 million by J&D Acquisitions LLC, a company created by former Genmar owner Irwin Jacobs, along with John Paul DeJoria. Some additional brands were subsequently resold, including the Larson brand, which Jacobs also purchased.

Some analysts covering the marine industry were speculating in December whether PBH’s boatbuilding brands were poised to go public.

"RBH has come a long way in the last four years, thanks to a lot of hard work, a strong management team, great support from the dealer network and the dedication of so many committed employees," Platinum Equity partner Louis Samson, who led the acquisition, said in a separate statement. "With the turnaround complete and the business on sound operational footing, the time is right for a transition to new ownership. Beneteau Group is a world leader in boat manufacturing and is a perfect strategic fit for the Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Scarab brands. We are putting the business in good hands going forward."

The sale of RBH comes after four years of successful transformation and growth initiatives, the private equity firm says.

"Platinum Equity provided the commitment and the resources we needed to revive the business," RBH CEO Roch Lambert said. "We have made remarkable progress on each of the core components of our turnaround: improved manufacturing efficiency, world-class products and a powerful distribution network. We have delivered on that strategy by constantly improving our processes and inspiring our people to be successful. The team in Cadillac is excited to join such a prestigious boat company as Beneteau Group and we look forward to the opportunities ahead."

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