Rec Boat Holdings addresses dealers about recent sale


Some dealers came into the Rec Boat Holdings meeting a bit nervous about the recent sale to the Beneteau Group, but president Roch Lambert says those lingering fears were put to rest last week.

Now the companies are looking to leverage cross-pollination between Rec Boat Holdings and Beneteau Group dealers.

“We have a long list of leads. We’re currently working on more than 100-something leads between our two networks,”Lambert told Trade Only Today. “And we have additional dealers that want to come on board because of what’s happening, both here and abroad. So this has been a very good couple months as far as the future of the business.”

Some Rec Boat Holdings dealers are looking to take on Beneteau and Jeanneau outboard brands after last week’s dealer meeting in Cadillac, Mich., and some Beneteau dealers want to explore the Four Winns, Glastron, Scarab and Wellcraft lines.

“We’re extremely busy at it already. Everybody is really scrambling to chase opportunities,”Lambert said. “We had identified a list of synergies, and so far it’s looking really good for all that we expected to happen as a result of this transaction. The chemistry is good between the two teams, and it’s a fun product. So far, the honeymoon is going well.”

Beneteau, Jeanneau and Rec Boat Holdings leaders explained to dealers last week that the Beneteau Group bought the company to penetrate the North American market in outboard segments. The company communicated its plan to continue investing in new-product development and providing dealer partners with a larger, stable foundation under the new ownership.

“Across the board, everybody feels a lot more comfortable with what’s going on. It’s an interesting portfolio of products. We now cover most of the segments out there, and I think everybody is reassured that we’re going down a solid path,”Lambert said. “It’s reassuring for the dealers to see we’re no longer under private equity [because] we were for sale for four years. Of course, our competition used that against us. These people have been building boats for 130 years. They didn’t buy that company to buy and sell. This is for them to penetrate the North American market in a bigger way.”

Although some models that were tested at the meeting had already been unveiled —such as the 165 Scarab, the 215 Scarab and the Glastron GT207—it was the first time some dealers saw and tested some of the 28 boats on the water. The company displayed new 2015 boats in the water and on land so dealers could water-test and explore new models and the changes to existing models from each brand.

The 28 included seven or eight Beneteau outboard models and seven Jeanneau outboard models, Lambert said.

“So people were able to try some products as much as the rain allowed,”Lambert said. “It poured on Tuesday, the day slated for boat tests, but actually it’s not bad weather for the types of boats they are.”