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Correct Craft acquires Centurion and Supreme lines

Correct Craft acquired the majority interest in Centurion Boats and Supreme Boats.

Correct Craft acquired the majority interest in Centurion Boats and Supreme Boats, the latest in a series of acquisitions for the Nautique parent company.

Both brands will continue to build their boats in Merced, Calif., and there are no plans to make changes in company management.

“We’ve got a lot of new exciting new members of our family and we’re going to spend some time integrating and optimizing,” Correct Craft president and CEO Bill Yeargin told Trade Only Today. “It’s a great fit. Both are long-term, excellent brands, and both brands help us cover all aspects of the segment.”

“Supreme is an outstanding value brand. We’re excited to offer that, and Centurion has a long history of being a high-tech company,” Yeargin said. “We saw them as great companies with great brand equity. And they help Correct Craft cover the whole towboat segment.”

Yeargin hinted in May that the company would announce another major boat acquisition in the late spring or early summer.

Correct Craft has been on an acquisition streak, having bought Bass Cat and Yar-Craft in March and PCM Marine Engines and Crusader Engines in October.

It also has been acquiring cable parks under its subsidiary Aktion Parks.

The company is holding a three-day summit in Orlando, Fla., to bring all of the businesses together and discuss how to best integrate them, Yeargin said.

Rick Lee, longtime owner of Centurion Boats, acquired Supreme Boats in 2011. Lee will maintain a minority ownership interest in the brands and continue working with them in a consulting role.

“I am proud of all the people who have worked to build the Centurion brand for over three decades,” Lee said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have both Centurion and Supreme become part of a team that will not only continue to build our brands and legacy, but also provide opportunities for our employees. I am very excited about our future.”

Yeargin said Correct Craft isn’t focusing on more acquisitions, but is open to them.

“We have a number of deals that people are talking to us about, but don’t have any that are close to closing,” he told Trade Only. “We’re really focusing our energy on optimizing and integrating. We would be open to a deal, but we’re not focusing on it right now.”

All of the recent purchases have been strategic fits into a long-term investment, Yeargin said.

“We are not a private equity firm that’s looking to buy and sell in three years,” Yeargin said. “We don’t have an exit strategy. That’s really the difference, and frankly that’s why I think people find us an appealing partner. They know we take care of our employees, dealers and customers, and people find that appealing — as well as the fact that they know we are not looking to buy a company, make changes and sell it.”

There has been more buying and selling in the boat manufacturing end of the industry in recent years than just after the Great Recession, which Yeargin attributes to companies wanting more money in the transaction than the market would bear during the recession.

“A lot of people didn’t want to sell right out of the downturn because valuations were so low,” Yeargin said. “Unless you couldn’t keep the company alive, it wasn’t a good time to sell. So we talked to a lot of people then that we were really interested in, and they us, but it wouldn’t make sense for us to pay for the companies based on that old model.”

Yeargin gives more details of the acquisition in his blog.

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