Cobalt brings on minority partner

NEODESHA, Kan. – Boat builder Fiberglass Engineering dba Cobalt Boats has taken on a minority partner as a tool for founder Pack St. Clair and his wife, Jill, to take a step toward retirement, said Cobalt Boats CEO Paxson St. Clair in an interview Friday.

Rosewood Capital, a small investment firm out of San Francisco, now owns a third of the company and holds three seats on the company’s Board of Directors, he explained.

St. Clair said that this isn’t a sign the family is looking to exit the business. In fact, he and his brother-in-law, Cobalt Boats President Sean Patrick Callan, have plans to run the company throughout their careers. In addition, founder Pack St. Clair has no immediate plans for retirement.

“This was a good opportunity to stay in control and allow mom and dad to diversify and enjoy retirement down the road,” Paxson commented.

The decision wasn’t made lightly. In fact, it took over two years to finalize the deal. While Cobalt had experienced a lot of interest from investors in the past, the executive team liked being able to operate independently and run the business as they had throughout its history.

“When this firm came and inquired, something that was new is that they wanted a minority interest in the business, so that piqued our interest,” St. Clair explained.

The investment firm also has brought a lot of expertise in brand development to the company, “an area where we could use some help,” according to St. Clair. For example, Rosewood served as a partner in Under Armour, during which it was very instrumental in its brand development, he explained.

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