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President of BRP’s new Marine Group outlines strategy

BRP is “open to other acquisitions in the right boat segment.”

BRP is “open to other acquisitions in the right boat segment.”

BRP said it is making a long term strategic play in forming its Marine Group with the Alumacraft acquisition, rather than making purchases simply for economic benefit.

“I think in terms of previous entrees that BRP’s had into boats, the difference here is we’re creating a BRP Marine Group that I will lead. That’s kind of central to the strategy,” Tracy Crocker, senior vice president and general manager of Evinrude, who was appointed president of the Marine Group, told Trade Only Today.

“It’s really becoming a marine company, not a power sports company that sells boats,” Crocker said.

“We know aluminum,” he said. “This is not new to us. We certainly have many other aluminum-based products, and we’re taking the long view of what we want to do with this business.”

Alumacraft, which BRP/Evinrude announced it had bought on Thursday, sells more than 10,000 boats a year, Crocker said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

At this time, there are no plans to roll personal watercraft into the Marine Group.

“It fits better with our power sports portfolio,” Crocker said. “We can and will look for opportunities to cross-pollenate between dealers, and some could bring PWC into marine dealers. For us to be in the marine business was a natural, maybe more so than any other company. We already have presence on water.

“I think we’re absolutely open to other acquisitions in the right boat segment,” he added. “If we find a company there that’s right for us, there are other opportunities there.

“I think that gets back to economy of scale,” Crocker said. “Companies like BRP are going to be able to leverage to be competitive, where other smaller boatbuilders may not have the ability to do that in the same way. At the same time, we still want to keep Alumacraft as an agile business that goes to market in the way it always has. It’s a cool opportunity because it’s mostly regional in the upper Midwest, but it’s a national brand name to compete in some of those other markets. We want to build up our distribution base and get ourselves a nice North American footprint.”

Alumacraft will continue to offer various types of propulsion, said Crocker.

“They offer several OEMs, including Evinrude, and will continue to do so,” said Crocker. “We would love to be on every Alumacraft sold, and we’ll do everything we can to earn that. And we’re confident we will. But that takes time.”

The long-term strategy is to make boating more accessible, Crocker said.

“We think BRP Marine has a lot of different assets and resources and ideas that are really going to make boating more accessible. Part of that is needing to sell boats that are affordable and also enhance that boating experience. All industries have changed from selling the product. We’re thinking of how we can sell the experience of boating. We have some strategic pillars on how we’re going to do this, and one of the lynchpins is, we’re selling ultimately a boat and engine together, and that creates a better experience on the water if it’s done the right way.”

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