Sealine Yachts America creditors seek Chapter 7 liquidation

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Sealine Yachts America LLC was summoned by a bankruptcy court in Florida Monday as a debtor in an involuntary liquidation bankruptcy case.

The company is facing an involuntary Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy petition that was filed late Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Lauderdale, the latest in a string of financial woes for Sealine and its Britain-based parent company.

Sealine has 21 days after being served to either file a motion with the clerk or answer the petition, court documents showed. Failure to respond would result in an “order for relief” for petitioners, according to court documents.

The amount owed to all petitioners — United Yacht Sales, Hartman Yacht Maintenance and Creative Displays — totaled $173,853.97, court documents showed. Calls made to Sealine were not returned.

In September 2011, the California-based Oxford Investment Group bought Sealine International from Brunswick Corp. Following the purchase, the company made a push in the U.S. market after a 10-year hiatus.

Oxford Investment Group founder and CEO Selwyn Isakow, reached on his cellphone by Trade Only Today this morning, said he had no comment.

Sealine International, the British parent company, entered into “administration status” April 30, which is akin to receivership in the United States. Sealine South Coast, the company’s sales and service division, which is based in Southampton, also entered administration.

Susan Hardwick, of Hardwick PR, the firm that handled public relations for Sealine, told Trade Only in early May that the North American market had been a “bright spot,” but she also said Sealine had sought an investment or a buyer that never came.

Calls placed to the firm this morning were unanswered. The websites for Sealine International and Sealine Yachts America were not accessible this morning.

Sealine Yachts America president Bill Griffiths didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

“The United States is a tough market, but it’s a whole lot better than Europe right now,” Griffiths told Trade Only at Sealine’s American debut in July 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, where it opened its first U.S. sales office. “We see more growth opportunities here,” he said, adding that Sealine wanted to acquire additional marine brands.

Sealine Yachts America general manager Tom Riemann told Trade Only that the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where the brand was reintroduced to the American market, had been a success and that he was looking forward to the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach. “We were brand-new in the market in the fall, so now we’ve got some traction and customers, so it’s an exciting time for us,” he said.

Riemann could not be reached on his cellphone.

— Reagan Haynes

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