Brunswick fields offers for Hatteras and Cabo

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Brunswick Corp. is still narrowing the field of potential buyers for Hatteras and Cabo, the two brands it announced it was selling in January, and expects to announce a new Sea Ray president before the end of March.

“There’s a formal sales process that’s under way and there is significant interest in the company,” Brunswick Boat Group president and acting Sea Ray president Andy Graves told Trade Only Today. “I don’t have a date for when that will be finalized, but the best thing to say is that there is significant interest in the brands. We’re in the process of talking to groups and interested parties and narrowing the field.”

Graves responded to questions about why the company decided to announce the brands were going up for sale before the transaction was finalized.

“Certainly it would’ve been our preference to announce a sale was complete. That makes a lot of sense for us and I think for the business,” Graves said. “There are some other extraneous factors that didn’t allow us to do that in this case, so, it is a bit unusual and not necessarily the preferred path for us, but given other influences on us, we thought that was the right decision. I’m not going to go into the other influences, but you’re right, it’s not as typical and it’s a cleaner process just to announce a sale has been completed.”

Nonetheless, it has been challenging for the brands to go through a public sales process while trying to operate the businesses, Graves said.

“There’s a lot of noise out there because there are people ... who want to try to get a first shot or get ahead of the line, or get out of the bidding process and into a singular process,” Graves said. “But at this point we’re still in the midst of the selling process, and I’m sure there will be more variations and changes as we go through the process. We’ll see who emerges.”

Brunswick will name someone internally to assume the post of Sea Ray president, Graves said, replacing Rob Parmentier, whose resignation was announced in January.

“Rob clearly has strong dealer relationships, and he also has many years of experience in the industry,” Graves said. “But we view organizational change, this one and others, as an opportunity for us to get better, for us to better manage businesses. I believe we have a very deep talent pool internally, and we also have a recent history, in the last four or five years, anyway, of driving better business results through some leadership changes and leadership development plans.”

“I’m highly confident we can put a very capable new president in place, and I expect to announce a new president within the month of March and draw on one of our outstanding internal managers,” Graves added.

Graves thinks the dealers might have initially reacted to the changes with anxiety, but several say he has spent a great deal of time personally connecting with them to talk about the company’s strategy.

“They have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and are greatly supportive of the business plans that we have to drive Sea Ray, Meridian and our other brands forward in the future.”

— Reagan Haynes

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