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Marine Products 2Q sales depended on regional weather

Sales of Robalo’s larger sportfishing and bay boats increased in the second quarter despite encountering “a real struggle”in regions affected by bad weather this spring.

Jetboats also continue to be a bright spot looking ahead as the company ramps up production to meet consumer and dealer demand.

“As you could imagine, the Southeast is the strongest, and most recently the weakest is kind of the Northeast and Midwest, again due to the winter and the slow start to the retail selling season,”Marine Products Corp. CEO Richard Hubbell told investors during a conference call Wednesday.

“I would say, in the Southeast, we saw a good bit of acceleration, and that felt good to us,”Hubbell said, “but in those other two markets that I referred to it was a real struggle.”

Despite weakness in those markets, Chaparral and Robalo generated year-over-year sales growth of almost 14 percent and net income growth of almost 56 percent, Hubbell said.

Unit sales increased during the second quarter of 2014, compared to the prior year, among Robalo’s sportfishing boats and bay boats, the largest Chaparral H2O model and several of larger Chaparral models, such as the 307 SSX, Hubbell said.

“But due to overall higher sales volumes, average selling prices were flat, compared to the second quarter of 2013,”Hubbell said.

Although the selling season in many markets was compressed because of the long winter and late spring, the company is encouraged by preliminary retail boat sales reports in June, Hubbell said.

“We continue to sell our Vortex jetboats during the second quarter. We are pleased with this new model’s potential, but we have not yet achieved production levels that are high enough to have a meaningful impact on our financial results,”Hubbell said.

This year, jetboat sales growth is among the highest of any recreational boat category, Hubbell said.

“We've started selling the boat and we've got some good reception, but it really did not contribute materially to the second quarter,”corporate finance vice president James Landers said during the call Wednesday.

The company said that thus far it was unable to meet demand on those products among dealers and consumers.

“We really are focusing on quality and getting that right,” Hubbell said. “We would rather disappoint people by not being able to give them one than disappointing them by giving one that was low-quality.”

“What we’ve produced and sold so far is the smaller jetboat, and we're coming out shortly with a couple other larger models,” Landers said, adding that the larger models should provide increased margins as sales of both large and small vessels accelerate.

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