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Richardsons buys Maptech marine division

Richardsons Chartbooks and Cruising Guides purchased Maptech's marine printed products division, publishers of ChartKits, Embassy Cruising Guides and Maptech Waterproof Charts, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition, made final July 30, creates one of the world's largest chartmakers outside of national hydrographic offices, according to Richardsons.

Both companies have long histories in chart manufacturing. Richardsons is known for its Great Lakes products and has expanded in the last decade to include U.S. East Coast products. ChartKit started in 1975 in the Northeast and, over time, became a mainstay for recreational boaters with its ChartKits in North America and elsewhere.

Richardsons president Lee Estes is very familiar with ChartKit. He worked for the original ChartKit/BBA for 10 years before leaving the company and buying Richardsons in 1998.

"Needless to say, I am very excited about this acquisition," Estes said in a statement. "There is a large, loyal customer base of ChartKit and Embassy users who I am sure will be glad to hear that Maptech's marine paper products are staying in the family, so to speak."

"Things have come full circle," Maptech president Tom Coppa said in a statement. "We are very pleased that someone who truly understands the chart business and appreciates the recreational boater will uphold the Maptech, ChartKit and Embassy brands. We believe this is true, because Lee Estes worked for us in the past, and we know he will do well."

Maptech announced it was for sale in February, less than 18 months after the death of owner Gary Comer. The printed products division is one of several Maptech has sold recently.

"When I heard Maptech's paper division was for sale, I jumped at the chance to acquire it, because I love the products," Estes said.

For the immediate future, Estes said he plans to run Richardsons and Maptech as two separate divisions. Shipping, sales and operations will be performed out of Richardsons’ New Bedford, Mass., headquarters, while Maptech production will remain in Amesbury, Mass.

"We have retained the majority of the Maptech paper production staff and a portion of the sales group, all of whom I am happy to have aboard,” said Estes.

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