Three of the biggest publicly traded marine companies all reported year-over-year growth, highlighting the strength of 2013 for the marine industry.
Brunswick Corp. — parent company of Mercury, Sea Ray, Bayliner and more – increased net sales 5 percent for 2013 versus 2012.
Earnings and margins were also up over 2013. The company’s gross margin of 26.1 percent was the highest annual level since 2000, said CEO Dusty McCoy.
Revenue growth continues to be driven by outboard boats and engines and the marine parts and accessories division. Sales of fiberglass sterndrive and inboard boats, and of sterndrive engines were down again in 2013, McCoy said.
Overall, sales of the Brunswick Boat Group’s 14 brands were up 17 percent in the fourth quarter year over year and up 4 percent for the year for the United States, with smaller gains in the rest of the world. For the fourth quarter, the boat segment reported a $21.9 million operating loss.
The Mercury Marine Group reported a 5 percent gain for sales in the fourth quarter, with international sales down about 4 percent.
The company is forecasting 5 to 7 percent revenue growth in 2014. Brunswick is expecting 3 to 5 percent growth in the powerboat segment and mid-single digit growth for the engine segment.
Marine Products Corp.
Marine Products Corp., parent company of Chaparral and Robalo, reported a 15.8 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Unit sales increased 8 percent, due primarily to significant increases in sales of Robalo fishing boats, said CFO Ben Palmer. Average price tag and margins were also up, with a 6.3 percent increase in average selling price as the company sold more of its higher-priced, larger Chaparral models.
“On a relative basis, we sold fewer of our lower-price Chaparral H20 this quarter and the increased volumes of the Robalo and larger Chaparrals that replaced them are higher margin boats,” Palmer said.
The company is optimistic about 2014, especially as it rolls out the new Chaparral Vortex jet boats, said CEO Richard Hubbell.
MarineMax reported it grew revenue 11 percent for the first quarter of FY2014 to $109.6 million. Same-store sales were up 9 percent over the same period last year, the ninth straight quarter of growth.
The fiberglass sterndrive and inboard segments, which make up the bulk of MarineMax’s business, are starting to show more signs of a comeback, said CEO Bill McGill.
“Although the recovery has not been consistent across all categories, it is encouraging to see this very important part of the industry beginning to find its sea legs,” McGill said.
New, innovative products are selling best as consumers look for a reason to buy.
“What is most encouraging for us is that our core suppliers have many new models coming over the next 12 months and even more in the foreseeable future,” McGill said. “The new product is coming exactly as the industry is gaining stability, which can only help. When manufactures accelerate their efforts to bring innovation and value back to the market, it propels customers back into the new boat market and demand strengthens.”