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Bankrupt Canadian builder looks for buyer

Rossiter Boats, doing business as Windward Holdings Inc, was placed into bankruptcy on June 5. According to documents from its trustee, Grant Thornton Ltd, the first meeting of creditors will take place on June 25 at its offices in Toronto, Ontario.

Rossiter Boats, which manufactures rowboats and powerboats from 8 to 23 feet at its facility in Markdale, Ontario, has 26 dealers in Canada and the U.S. Scott Hanson, former Rossiter president, told Trade Only Today that the builder had about $1.9 million in orders when it stopped production. He said delivery delays of large-hp outboard engines, along with recent Canada/US trade uncertainties, prompted Windward Holdings’ move towards bankruptcy.

The engine delays put “tremendous pressure” on cash flow, says Hanson, tying up cash in costs of goods as its boats sat in the facility, waiting for engines. “Our primary engine suppliers have been doing everything that they can,” Hanson said. “But they’re dealing with unprecedented demand levels. They told us in March there would be limited supply, but that got pushed out to December.”

Hanson said that even “secondary” engine builders attached to dealers could not supply enough outboards. “I think the situation is affecting everyone, but it’s particularly hard on the small- and medium-sized boat builders,” he said.

Because of the engine delivery issues, compounded by uncertainties by recent tariffs in the U.S. and Canada, Windward decided to shut down the company. Grant Thornton will seek a new buyer over the coming weeks for a possible restructuring.

Hanson said that Rossiter’s strong order book, with assets exceeding liabilities, should help find a buyer. “We’re not an upside-down company,” he says. “We’ve grown by double digits, year over year, for many years.” All but one of its 26 dealers have indicated their support for the builder, said Hanson, and the company has received enquiries from potential buyers in Canada and the U.S. “I’ve been meeting over the last few days with potential investors in the U.S.,” he adds. “I’m confident we can find a buyer quickly and hope we can resume production by July.”

Creditor information is available at Grant Thornton. 

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