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Baja Marine acquires Donzi, Fountain, Pro-Line

Baja Marine announced it officially acquired the assets of boat companies Donzi Marine, Fountain Powerboats and Pro-Line Boats from American Marine Holdings Inc.

The company has been in discussions to purchase its sister brands after a long and drawn-out court battle and two Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in two years.

All four brands — Baja, Donzi, Fountain and Pro-Line — will operate as independent entities. They will be based at the Baja Marine facility on Whichards Beach Road in Washington, N.C.

The acquisition was prompted by ongoing demand by customers and marine dealers for new boats from Donzi, Fountain and Pro-Line since American Marine Holdings suspended production of these brands in 2011, according to Baja Marine CEO Johnny Walker. “We’ve been getting calls on a daily basis,” Walker said in a statement.

In mid-August, the company began building the 247 Islander, 26 Outlaw, 278 Performance and 30 Outlaw models, and more recently added the 277 Islander and 35 Outlaw models for 2013.

Walker announced that plans were being formulated to relaunch the other three brands in 2013.

“We are excited to get these brands back in production. They are the most recognized names in the marine industry,” Walker said. “We currently are building Baja Boats with a staff of people with over 700 years of performance boat experience, and they look forward to the other three brands coming back into production.

“We are eagerly anticipating the world debut of the new Baja 30 Outlaw GT at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show next week. After that, we will start working on designs for updated and upgraded Donzi, Fountain and Pro-Line models for next year,” Walker continued. “It’s great to have all of the brands back together under the same roof.”

Fountain Powerboats, along with numerous other affiliated parties, filed Chapter 11 papers Jan. 18 for the second time in less than three years. The filing was recorded with the bankruptcy court in the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, where a federal judge threw it out and sent it back to the North Carolina courts.

In the second filing, Fountain listed more than $53 million in liabilities and less than $50,000 in assets, according to court documents. A total of $53.6 million was owed to lender First Capital.

“A receiver was appointed last winter and did put Baja into bankruptcy,” Walker said in his statement. “However, the court dismissed it as an improper filing. The bankruptcy court judge ruled that the receiver did not have the authority to put Baja in bankruptcy. It’s a complicated process, but Baja has gone back to its former ownership.”

Baja Marine then went back to Liberty to hash out a deal to get all companies again under one roof, Walker said.

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