Archive for » October 26th, 2012«

MarineMax Begins Partnership With Azimut

MarineMax (NYSE: HZO), the world’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer, today announced that it is has expanded its relationship with Italy-based Azimut Benetti Group. The expansion with Azimut encompasses areas such as the Midwest, including Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, Texas, the northern Gulf Coast, and the West Coast of the United States. With this geographic expansion, MarineMax is now the exclusive Azimut dealer for the entire United States.

Azimut Benetti Group is the largest mega yacht manufacturer in the world and the world’s leading private group in the luxury boating sector. Azimut manufactures luxury cruising models ranging from 40′ through 100′. A showcase of Italian luxurious design and powerful performance, Azimut yachts are known for their stunning lines, luxurious appointments, and dockside elegance. A leader in production, Azimut Benetti has the most extensive sales network in the boating industry worldwide.

William H. McGill, Jr., Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of MarineMax commented, “We are pleased to be able to expand our already strong Azimut relationship. Azimut is one of the premier manufacturers in the World with excellent support to dealers and customers. The markets we have expanded into have substantial long-term potential for MarineMax and Azimut. Historically, brand expansions such as this have proven to be very accretive. We look forward to bringing the MarineMax approach to these new markets for our Azimut customers.”

Paolo Vitelli, President of the Azimut Benetti Group said, “We are proud to expand our business relationship with MarineMax, the world’s largest and most professional organization in yacht distribution. The design, quality, and technology of our yachts are recognized in the States to the point that Azimut Yacht is the number one European brand in North America and, in certain segments, number one overall. This achievement is the result of the combined efforts of Azimut and MarineMax. Professionalism, commitment to customers, and the quality of service are the strength points of MarineMax, which will make this partnership even more successful.”

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Brunswick reports slight increase in revenue

Brunswick Corp., parent company of Knoxville-based Sea Ray Boats, released its third-quarter financial report Thursday, reporting revenue up slightly despite a 19 percent drop in sales from Europe.

Marine engine sales were healthy, with an 11 percent increase over the previous year, but boat sales were down 7 percent as demand for certain models lagged. The company is doing a restructuring of its boat division including the closure of its Sea Ray plant in Knoxville by the end of the year.

“We believe these changes will allow us to save $10-$12 million a year once they are fully implemented,” Brunswick chairman and CEO Dustan E. McCoy, told investors and analysts, referring to the decision to close the Knoxville plant at Forks of the River Industrial Park and move cruiser production to plants in Vonore, Tenn., and Palm Coast, Fla.

The company reported net earnings of $2 million, or $0.02 per diluted share for the third quarter, compared with $4.7 million, or $0.05 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2011.

Brunswick reported net sales of $884.8 million for the third quarter compared to $876.7 million a year earlier. The company had operating earnings of $37.5 million, including $28.2 million of restructuring, exit and impairment charges. In 2011, Brunswick had operating earnings of $35.6 million, including $13.2 million in restructuring, exit and impairment charges.

Peter B. Hamilton, Brunswick’s chief financial officer, said closing the Knoxville plant and relocating its production involved about $8 million in restructuring and related charges.

Of Brunswick’s divisions, marine engine sales were up 11 percent, fitness equipment sales were down 3 percent, bowling and billiards were down 6 percent and boat sales were down 7 percent with $205.8 million in net sales.

Demand for aluminum and outboard-powered fiberglass boats has grown, but has remained weak for cruisers, McCoy said. But he expects the cruiser market will recover.

“We are in the cruiser business, and one of the centerpieces in that is our Sea Ray brand. We’ve been gaining share even though the market has declined. We are comfortable and feel secure that the cruiser business will return,” he said.


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trn/irs sailing pbperfor

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Brunswick’s 3Q net down 57 pct amid restructuring

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Boat and sporting-goods maker Brunswick Corp. posted a 57 percent drop in third-quarter earnings Thursday as large restructuring and other charges limited its gain.

The company said net earnings for the July-through-September period were $2 million, or 2 cents per share. That was down from $4.7 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $884.8 million from $876.7 million despite a 19 percent drop in sales in Europe.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings of 2 cents per share on revenue of $936.7 million.

The results included $28.2 million of restructuring, exit and impairment charges, just over double the amount from a year ago, as the Lake Forest, Ill.-based continues to reshape itself to reflect weakened demand. Boat and boat part makers were hit particularly hard during the recession, when people cut back on big-ticket purchases.

The bright spot in the third quarter was the division containing its marine parts and accessories businesses, which posted an 11 percent increase in sales to $503.5 million.

The company’s 18-brand boat group saw sales decline 7 percent to $205.8 million in the quarter.

Also reporting lower sales were its fitness equipment unit, down 3 percent, and bowling and billiards unit, down 6 percent.

“As we continue to execute our strategic growth initiatives, as well as focus on cost reductions and operating efficiencies throughout our organization, we expect to be able to demonstrate improved sales and operating earnings during the final quarter of the year as compared to 2011, resulting in strong full-year earnings growth,” CEO Dustan McCoy said in a statement.

Brunswick shares increased $1.99, or 9.4 percent, to $23.23 in afternoon trading.


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Disabled sailing championships a big step for Kowalesky

Judy Kowalesky struggled for six years after becoming paralyzed from the waist down in 2004.

“I had always been active in athletics,” said Kowalesky. “Being in a wheelchair was difficult. I was depressed for six years as I tried to find a physical challenge that fulfilled me.”

Then she went sailing.

“I was in the boat for 10 minutes when I thought, ‘I’ve found it,’” she said. “Sailing turned it around for me. There was so much to learn and so much I could do on the boat despite my disability. As strange as it might sound, sailing is a great calling for a lot of people with physical limitations.

“That’s the message I’d like to get out to other people who might have been in my situation and felt the way I did. Try sailing.”

Kowalesky is teaming with two other San Diegans with disabilities this weekend in the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships out of Southwestern Yacht Club.

Starting today, 53 sailors with disabilities will be racing on north San Diego Bay in single-, double- and triple-handed boats in five classes.

The event is open to any sailor with a physical disability. Participants have included quadriplegics, paraplegics and amputees, as well as individuals with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, polio and ALS.

Kowalesky, 59, was an ICU nurse at UCSD Hospital in 2004 when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

“After having a total hysterectomy, they discovered the cancer spread to my lymph nodes, which required six months of radiation treatments,” said Kowalesky. “The radiation damaged my spinal cord. It happens in three of every 10,000 cases.”

Kowalesky has spent most of her time since in a wheelchair, although she can stand.

“On land, I’m pretty much confined to the wheelchair,” she said. “On the boat, I can move around using handrails.”

Kowalesky will be sailing with San Diegans Steve Edenson (who needs leg braces to walk) and Mitsuhiro Iwamoto (who is blind) on a 22-foot sloop in the triple-handed class. They do not expect to win. “I’d be happy with a strong last,” said Kowalesky.

Several past participants of this championship have gone on to compete in the Paralympic Games, including 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist and former U.S. Yachtsman of the Year Nick Scandone, who succumbed to ALS two years ago.

The five-boat, triple-handed fleet is led by three-time U.S. Disabled Triple-handed Champion, Rick Doerr of Clifton, N.J. He will be sailing with Oceanside’s Michael Ross and Gerard Tiernan of Falmouth, Maine. Also in the class is 2012 Paralympic double-handed silver medalist Jennifer French, of St. Petersburg, Fla. She won the double-handed U.S. championship in 2009 and is a seven-time winner of the Milan-Gruson Award as the top disabled female skipper. French and Canadian Brenda Hopkins will be crewing for Sarah Everhart Skeels of Tiverton, R.I.

Edenson will steer the local entry with Kowalesky on the mainsheet and Iwamoto on the foredeck. Iwamoto has plans to sail from Japan to San Francisco next year in a 28-foot boat.

In addition to sailing in the Disabled Nationals, Kowalesky is on the committee responsible for bringing the 22-year-old event to the West Coast for the first time.

“Hopefully, this will raise the awareness of what a great sport sailing is for anyone with a physical limitation,” said Kowalesky. “I’m trying to interest the Wounded Warrior program in sailing. I think it would be a great fit.”


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