Some dealers might have entered the Rec Boat Holdings dealer meeting earlier this month with apprehension after the company’s sale to the Beneteau Group, but Dave Kazmark of Patchogue Shores Marina was not one of them.
“I’m very happy with the Beneteau [acquisition],”Kazmark told Trade Only Today. “I’m not saying Platinum Equity wasn’t stable, but they buy and sell. That’s what they do. Now we’re with a real boat company that is now the largest or second-largest boatbuilder in the world. They are debt-free, from what I understand. I think it can only be good.”
Kazmark said much of the Beneteau and Jeanneau product on display at the Aug. 13-14 dealer meeting in Cadillac, Mich., was not for his market in Long Island, N.Y., but he was looking forward to the partnership. His dealership sells Glastron and Wellcraft boats.
“I think they’ll start cross-pollinating and will build more boats to our market,”Kazmark said. “Jeanneau and Beneteau are in it to stay, I think. They made a large investment. And I think they want to bring Four Winns, Glastron, Scarab and Wellcraft to Europe. It’s a synergy; they’re trying to get a larger presence in this market”while giving the other brands more exposure in Europe.
Beneteau said June 24 that it had acquired Rec Boat Holdings from private equity group Platinum Holdings, which bought the company out of bankruptcy with Genmar.
Beneteau didn’t say how much it spent on the acquisition, but CFO Patrick Guilloux gave some indication of the overall investment the company made.
“If you consider the cost of acquisition and if you consider the investment to bring new products into the factory in Michigan and the tooling and molds that make the Beneteau and Jeanneau boats, all in the next four or five years, the total costs of investments should be less than $100 million,”Guilloux told Trade Only Today at the time of the sale. “We’re talking about the complete project’s medium term, not only the acquisition costs.”
Rec Boat Holdings CEO Roch Lambert told Trade Only last week that some dealers still had some trepidation about the transaction, but he said the dealer meeting had largely put those to rest.
Although some models tested at the meeting had already been unveiled —such as the 165 Scarab, the 215 Scarab and the Glastron GT207 —the meeting was the first time some dealers saw and tested some of the 28 boats on the water. The company displayed new 2015 boats in the water and on land so dealers could water-test and explore new models and the changes in existing models from each brand.
The 28 included seven or eight Beneteau outboard models and seven Jeanneau outboard models, Lambert said.“Our focus has now shifted to our Wellcraft brand, with plans to expand and update the line in 2015.”
Kazmark said he was happy with the company’s new-model releases and is especially looking forward to the revamping of some dated Wellcraft product.
“I couldn’t feel better. It’s win-win for me,”he said. “I’ve been with Glastron for 15 years. I went through the Genmar days, which at the end turned out to be a nightmare for me. I see this as nothing but positive. Now there will be some cash infusion to revamp some of the older Wellcraft models, so I think it’s win-win all around.”