Brunswick acquires Thunder Jet

Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) announced Tuesday it has acquired Thunder Jet, a designer and builder of heavy-gauge aluminum (HGA) boats. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Thunder Jet’s 2015 revenues were approximately $20 million.

With a current portfolio of 18 models ranging in length from 18 to 26 feet, Thunder Jet will operate as a key part of the Freshwater Boat division of the Brunswick Boat Group (BBG), adding breadth and depth to BBG’s overall product portfolio. Thunder Jet will remain based in Clarkston, Wash.

“A premium brand and a leader in its segment, Thunder Jet provides Brunswick with a presence in an attractive niche market where both our boat and marine engine brands are currently under-represented,” explained Brunswick Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark D. Schwabero. “Through this transaction, we now are well positioned within the growing heavy-gauge aluminum market, which is strong in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.

“We see opportunities from this acquisition to grow revenues in our boat and marine engine segments, including our parts and accessories businesses in this expanding market segment, to which many boaters are so devoted,” Schwabero added. “Further, we are attracted to the HGA segment’s more rapid rate of replacement, higher price points and margins above those of typical aluminum fish boats.”

Schwabero noted that the Brunswick Freshwater Group is excited to collaborate with Thunder Jet and its dealer network, and believes Brunswick could add further value to the Washington-based boat maker’s portfolio in terms of enhancing design, fishing features and overall performance.

“Together, we will advance Thunder Jet’s product features and market share by leveraging our combined operations and product development expertise, along with supporting our industry-leading distribution networks,” Schwabero said. “Beyond product improvement opportunities, we believe this transaction also offers natural synergies for savings and efficiencies through leveraging the Boat Group’s supply base and process improvement expertise.

“We use a focused and structured approach in evaluating acquisition opportunities, which includes several criteria,” Schwabero added. “There needs to be a strong fit with our strategy; the particular business needs to be in a market that we believe has healthy fundamentals; and we need to have the organizational capacity to integrate and effectively manage the business. The acquisition also needs to meet some important internal financial benchmarks. We believe Thunder Jet satisfies these criteria.

“For all these reasons and more, Thunder Jet will be a great addition to our boat portfolio,” Schwabero explained. “Though our priority for acquisitions remains primarily on marine parts and accessories and fitness, we also keep an eye out for exceptional prospects that will strengthen our company and serve our shareholders.”

The Thunder Jet acquisition is expected to have minimal impact upon Brunswick’s 2016 earnings.

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