ELKHART, Ind. - Godfrey Marine and Rinker Boat Co., say dealers will benefit from the merger of the two boat builders, although the companies have yet to share with their dealer networks details of how exactly they will be impacted.
Dealers called this morning by Boating Industry said they weren't ready to comment on the merger because they didn't have enough information.
However, in an interview today, John Deputy, director of marketing for Godfrey Marine, said the merger represents an opportunity for the companies and their dealers as well.
“Both companies have been in business for a long time and have very established dealer networks, but the irony was that we only had 10 dealers in common,” Deputy said. “This is an opportunity for our dealers to crossover.”
Deputy also pointed out the manufacturing opportunities that now exist, noting, for example, that Godfrey's Polar Kraft facility in Indiana is located within 500 yards of a Rinker plant.
He also said he expects there to be no loss in “headcount” due to the merger, saying instead that the company wants to leverage its distribution opportunities with the goal of growing the business.
“This was a great opportunity for us to partner with a great company,” Deputy said. “The big thing for us is that we are an independent boat company. This is an affirmation of our strategy. We are the independents' choice.”
The merger, announced earlier this week, will form the fourth largest pleasure boat manufacturer in the U.S., the companies reported in a joint statement.
The merged companies comprise a partnership between the private equity firm of Code Henessy & Simmons LLC (CHS) and Godfrey Marine's senior management group, Bob, Bill and Larry Deputy, who will retain a significant equity ownership in the new entity. The Deputy family, which has owned Godfrey since 1953, will continue in key executive roles in the new entity as will members of Rinker's senior management team, according to the statement.
The new company will market nine brands, include Rinker express cruisers and Captiva runabouts; Godfrey's Hurricane deck boats; Aqua Patio, Sanpan, Sweetwater, Parti Kraft and Tuscany pontoon boats; Polar Kraft aluminum fishing boats and Polar fiberglass fishing boats. The combined companies' boats are sold by more than 525 dealers nationwide and in 22 countries.
“Both Rinker and Godfrey have strong traditions of independence and commitment to relationships with employees, dealers, and suppliers,” said Bob Deputy, president of Godfrey Marine. “Combining these two industry leaders offers significant benefits, including diverse and comprehensive product lines, state of the art manufacturing facilities and a reputation for industry-leading products.”
“Together, we bring extensive boating industry experience and an exceptional track record as independent companies delivering innovation, value and service,” said Bob Moran, CEO of Rinker.
Headquartered in Elkhart, Ind. since 1903, Godfrey Marine is a family-owned independent builder that operates eight manufacturing facilities in Elkhart, as well as an aluminum boat plant in Syracuse Ind., and fiberglass boat plants in Benton, Ill. and Vinemont, Ala. Godfrey introduced the first aluminum pontoon boat in 1958, and its Hurricane brand pioneered the deck boat concept.
Founded in 1945 by the Rinker family, and headquartered in Syracuse, Ind., Rinker Boat Co. manufactures express cruisers and runabouts with 16 models from 19 to 43 feet.
The combined companies offer dealers and consumers a choice of MerCruiser or Volvo Penta inboard/outboard power or outboard motor brands Evinrude, Honda, Johnson, Mercury, Suzuki or Yamaha.
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