Acquisition means increased production for Harris-Kayot

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bentley Industries has purchased Harris-Kayot Inc. boat company in Fort Wayne, Ind., Steven Deese, president and chairman of Bentley Industries, Columbia S.C., announced in a recent statement from the company. The purchase includes all land, equipment and assets.

Harris-Kayot, in business since 1946, is a builder of pontoons, fiberglass runabouts and deckboats 20 to 26 feet in length.

Purchasing Harris-Kayot allows Bentley to enter the fiberglass market of deck boats and runabouts, and provides a high-end pontoon to complement Bentley’s product line, according to the company.

Bentley Industries, privately owned by Chairman and President Steven Deese, owns Bentley Pontoon Boats and operates plants in Columbia, S.C., Mexico, Mo., and Delhi, La., supplying approximately 200 dealers throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. With this acquisition, the Bentley and Harris-Kayot dealer network will increase to more than 300 dealers.

Bentley also owns and operates Duracraft Marine, which produces aluminum bass and fishing boats in Delhi, La. Duracraft has been in business since the 1950s and has dealers throughout the United States.

Deese pointed out that with the acquisition, the company’s work force will grow to more than 500 people. He said that Bentley is the fastest-growing pontoon boat company in the U.S. with a 233-percent increase last year, achieved by “working with strong dealers and by offering quality boats at great prices.”

“In 2005, we increased production to more then 5,000 boats, and the Harris-Kayot acquisition allows us to expand even further into pontoons and opens the deckboat and runabout category to Bentley Industries,” Deese stated.

Deese will serve as chairman and president of Harris-Kayot, with James M. (Jimmy) Poiry as vice president and chief of marketing/dealer management with Harris-Kayot and Bentley. The Poiry family owns and operates Fort Wayne Anodizing, and will continue to operate that company, and agrees to assist in part of the future Harris-Kayot management.

Bentley will continue to operate Harris-Kayot in Fort Wayne with plans to expand fiberglass-boat production. This purchase advances Bentley Industries into the top five manufacturers of pontoon boats in the United States, according to the company.

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