Jacobs and DeJoria confident in new company's course

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John Paul DeJoria, who partnered with Irwin Jacobs to form J&D Holdings, says he's involved with the new boatbuilding company because it has the potential for being a billion-dollar business. "If I didn't think there was any growth towards a billion, I wouldn't even consider it," he said.

DeJoria has lofty goals for the business he and Jacobs created in the wake of the Genmar Holdings bankruptcy, according to an article in theMinneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Jacobs said the bankruptcy cost him more than $100 million personally, and DeJoria lost about $20 million that he had invested in Genmar 90 days before its bankruptcy.

Both men say they are confident their new company will succeed, having learned lessons from the former Genmar, which sold off its 15 boat lines in a bankruptcy auction in January.

For one, Jacobs said, the corporate staff is smaller than before. While Genmar employed more than 40, J&D has fewer than 10.

Also, J&D Holdings is focusing on fewer brands - six instead of 15 - which will allow it to stay in better contact with brand managers and closer to customers.

DeJoria and Jacobs recently toured the two factories of J&D Holdings - a plant in Pulaski, Wis., that builds the Marquis and Carver brands and a factory in Little Falls, Minn., that builds the Larson, Seaswirl, FinCraft lines and soon will restart production of Triumph boats.

"They are so excited to be working right now; all of a sudden 400 jobs - 200 jobs here and 200 jobs there," DeJoria told the newspaper. "They are very confident about their product ... and the economy is turning around and more and more people are getting boats."

As it grows, J&D will try to limit debt levels, Jacobs told the newspaper. It is taking on debt from public sources, including a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the state of Wisconsin that was used to help finance its $5.75 million acquisition of the boat businesses.

J&D also plans to produce more entry-level boats at the Little Falls plant that can attract new buyers to the market.

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