Triton rumors prove true

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) has acquired Triton Boat Co., L.P., a producer of fiberglass bass and saltwater and aluminum fishing boats, the company reported in a statement today. This comes only a few short months after Triton denied rumors that an acquisition was underway in an interview with Boating Industry magazine.

Triton will remain based in Ashland City, Tenn. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“With Triton, we continue the important and critical work of filling white space within our product line-up,” explained Dustan E. McCoy, president of the Brunswick Boat Group. “In addition to Triton’s fine saltwater and aluminum products, we now have one of the leading bass boat brands in the industry and can better meet our dealers’ and consumers’ needs for these products.”

In an interview today, McCoy said Triton’s products would not compete with Brunswick’s current boat line-up, including what he described as “growing outboard, saltwater and aluminum activity.”

McCoy refrained from commenting on to what extent Mercury Marine would benefit from the acquisition, but as Triton is often packaged with Mercury product, there will likely be little market share gain. Mercury Marine is the only marine engine builder listed as a “friend of Triton” on the boat builder’s Web site, which is no surprise. Earl Bentz, Triton’s founder, began his marine career more than 30 years ago as a race boat driver for Mercury Marine.

Bentz will continue as president of the division, according to Brunswick. In addition, he will become a Brunswick spokesperson concerning fishing activities, dealer development and alignment, and industry matters. He will also provide advice and assistance in product development for fishing product, reporting to McCoy.

Triton factories will remain in Aberdeen, Miss. and Ashland City. Triton employs approximately 600 people and makes boats ranging from 12 to 35 feet. Triton’s sales were approximately $156 million in 2004.

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