Nautic plant closing causes 75 layoffs

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Nautic Global Group has closed its Benton, Ill. plant and shifted manufacturing of its Hurricane Deck Boats to its Elkhart, Ind. manufacturing campus. The move means the loss of 75 full-time jobs at the Benton plant.
NGG’s Polar Fishing Boats, currently built in Benton, also will be built in another NGG plant, either in Syracuse, Ind., or Elkhart. The move of Polar to Syracuse could create 30-40 new jobs in that plant, said Steve Tadd, director of marketing for NGG.

NGG has no plans to sell the Benton plant, and hopes to reopen it when economic conditions improve. The closure leaves NGG with 10 plants.

“The market’s rough, but we’re hopeful that once things turn around that there will be demand enough to warrant bringing Polar and our offshore fishing boats back down there and once that would happen, then we would bring production back into that facility,” Tadd told Soundings Trade Only this morning. “We’re not selling it, but it would be demand that would trigger reopening it.”

Tadd said it was a combination of the economy and improved efficiencies in manufacturing that led to the consolidation.

“We have invested heavily in Lean manufacturing and our production and throughput and efficiencies in Elkhart have improved tremendously, which has allowed us to take some of that spillover with Hurricane and bring it back up here,” Tadd said. “That said, none of this would probably have been able to happen if the economy was booming.”

In November 2005, Godfrey Marine and Rinker Boat Company merged to form NGG, the fourth largest recreational boat manufacturer in the U.S. The combined company manufactures nine brands, including Rinker Cruisers and Sport Boats, Hurricane Deck Boats, Sanpan, Aqua Patio, Sweetwater, and Parti Kraft Pontoon Boats, as well as Polar and Polar Kraft Fishing Boats. 

“We’re still very strong as a company and we’re investing more than ever in new product development,” Tadd said, adding there are no plans to do away with any boat lines. “Everybody is having to face the reality of a really persistent, prolonged downturn and we’re no different.”

— Beth Rosenberg
b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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