Jacobs: Boating market “a perfect tsunami”

MINNEAPOLIS – Despite the announcement Monday that Genmar Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs expressed confidence about the future of his company in a phone interview yesterday afternoon.

“We will definitely emerge in one piece,” he said, emphasizing his personal investment of more than $40 million in recent months as evidence of his commitment to the company’s success.

However, Jacobs once again expressed surprise at having to file bankruptcy, suggesting it was the result of pressure from the banks.

“Lots of companies aren’t paying on what they owe,” he said. “We made payments through yesterday. We never missed a payment.”

In fact, Jacobs suggested several privately owned boat builders are more highly leveraged than Genmar and would likely follow in the company’s footsteps.

Genmar’s top executive underlined the need for change within the boating industry and called for less fragmentation and less risk for dealers, boat builder and lenders, even if that means “shrinking the business up.”

Jacobs confirmed dealer reports that Genmar is behind on warranty and said “that will be taken care of on Thursday.”

A bankruptcy court session expected to take place that day will address items like unpaid debts, the handling of pre- and post-warranty claims, continuation of the GE floor-planning program and the continuation of employee salaries, he said.

Finally, Jacobs also addressed concerns that production would be halted by the bankruptcy court, explaining that under a Chapter 11 filing, “our business is under our control.”

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