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Bertram Yacht names GM and product development manager

Posted on July 31st, 2015

Fort Lauderdale-based Bertram Yacht today announced two appointments to its U.S.-based management team as it begins to roll out new-product initiatives.

Marine industry and Bertram sales veteran Susan Davids joins the sportfishing boatbuilder as general manager and will be based at the company’s Fort Lauderdale office. Bertram and yacht sales veteran Tommy Thompson also joins the company as product development manager.

Davids’ in-depth and prolific experience stems from her extensive background in the custom-home industry and significant work in the marine industry. Highlights include her work as product manager for Bertram, Azimut and Ocean Alexander while she was at Richard Bertram Yachts.

The role expanded to vice president of sales and production for former Bertram dealer Allied Richard Bertram, where she oversaw five brands from the order to final delivery.

After some time away from the marine industry, Davids was lured back to help introduce Sanlorenzo Yachts to the Americas. Today as Bertram’s general manager, she will capitalize on this strong boatbuilding skill set and oversee all aspects of the business, including new-product rollout, sales initiatives, marketing and business management.

“After a long history with this iconic brand, it’s an honor for me to take the reins and help guide Bertram during this next exciting chapter,” Davids said in a statement.

“I’m incredibly excited to reveal the plans for a completely new model at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November. It’s going to make one heck of a statement. We certainly recognize our heritage and have challenged ourselves to be worthy brand stewards. Our first model reflects this thinking. Well, and, it’s also all about the ride. You better believe anglers will be able to lead the pack to the fish.”

Thompson joins his former colleague as Bertram’s product development manager. After cutting his teeth and gaining hands-on experience as a private captain, he joined Richard Bertram Yachts. He was tasked with running the demonstration fishing program and then transitioned to project management and sales on boats from 40 to 145 feet at Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group. The Ferretti Group then absorbed this division.

Thompson brings a unique combination of on-the-water experience and consumer knowledge to the Bertram team.

Thompson joins Davids and Bertram’s design group to develop new product and lead the efforts of the sales team.

“I’ve done a lot of exciting things and been involved in some cool projects during my career, but I have to say that this next new boat we have coming — and helping Susan to get Bertram back to its roots — is by far the most exciting part of my career,” Thompson said.

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Brunswick sales up 6 percent for Q2 2015

Sales were up 6 percent for the second quarter of the year at Brunswick Corp., as the industry giant reported growth in engine sales and fiberglass boats.

The company reported net sales of $1.14 billion for the quarter, up from $1.07 billion in 2014. Operating earnings were at $154.2 million, up from $138.3 million. Net earnings were up from $87.1 million in 2014 to $107.6 million for the quarter.

New engines — both outboard and sterndrive — and new models are generating market share gains, CEO Dusty McCoy said.

The company continues to be challenged by the strong dollar putting pressure on exports — sales would have been up 11 percent on a constant currency basis.About 20 percent of Brunswick’s business is conducted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, said CFO Bill Metzger, and the company expects currency issues to reduce overall sales by about 4 percent.

For the full year, Brunswick expects industry sales to be down high single digits or low double digits in Canada, flat in Europe and down double digits in South America, McCoy said.

While Brunswick expects to outperform the industry in those markets, the pressure on sales — especially aluminum boats — will continue north of the border.

“The only thing about the boat group that causes us to be conservative for the remainder of the year is Canada,” McCoy said. “It’s just a tough place to be right now.”

The marine engine segment, which includes Mercury engines as well as Brunswick’s parts and accessories businesses, reported a 6 percent gain in net sales to $689.2 million for the quarter. International sales were down 3 percent for the engine segment. Outboards and parts and accessories continued to be strong, while sterndrive sales declined again, said COO Mark Schwabero.

The Brunswick Boat Group also reported growth for the quarter, with net sales up 8 percent to $349.3 million for the quarter compared to $324.1 million in 2014. The increase was driven by growth in fiberglass boats, partially offset by declines in aluminum sales, Schwabero said.

In the long term, McCoy said he sees great potential for growth for the industry, with an eventual return to 300,000 boats sold — but probably not any time soon.

“My own judgment that eventually the market will get back to 300,000 units,” McCoy said. “It will take a while and when it gets back it will be a different mix than it was back in 2005.”

At the same time, McCoy pointed out that Brunswick is built to be more profitable now than it was when the market was at 300,000.

Click here to see the full earnings release.


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Deposits made in boat owners’ bank account

MANGALURU: Owners of fishing boats in three coastal district of Karnataka getting ready for the 10-month fishing season that begins on August 1 can do so with the knowledge that sales tax component of diesel allocated to them is already in their respective bank accounts.

Boat owners get diesel that ranges from 70 to 300 litres per day based on the horse power of their boats and this is dispensed through 30 authorized petrol bunks in fishing harbours in the state. The state government had made provisions to sell 1.5-lakh kilo litres of diesel to owners of mechanized boats in the state during 2014-15.

Tweaking the diesel sale system this fiscal, the department has decided to reimburse the sales tax component of the diesel allocated to them directly in to their respective bank account. Hitherto, sales tax exempted diesel was sold directly to fishing boats and the department felt this reaching undeserving hands.

Confirming the switch over to the new system, Veerappa Gowda, director, department of fisheries said the department noticed that the sales tax exempt diesel was winding its way to unregistered fishing boats landing up at fishing harbours in Karnataka.

“There was also no way to keep accurate tabs on whether a fishing boat owner had drawn more than the quota allocated to them,” Gowda told TOI adding this new system will bring in much needed transparency in the system.

The switch over is as per announcement made by chief minister Siddaramaiah in this years’ budget, Gowda said adding that the National Informatics Centre has developed a software for this purpose. “We have undertaken extensive training programme for our officials and the personnel of the 30 petrol bunks on how to operate the software and monitor the sale of diesel to fishing vessels,” he said adding training has been conducted at Karwar, Udupi and here.

The government has already released Rs 4.73 crore, the average of diesel consumed by 1,455 registered fishing boats from March to May by way of subsidy amount and this is being transferred to accounts of boats owners since July 27. “We have also brought the oil marketing companies that sell diesel to fishing boats on board this system,” Gowda said. Of the 1,455 boats, 1,163 are from DK and Udupi and the remaining from Uttara Kannada.

As an adhoc measure, the CM sanctioned a release of 36,000 kilolitres of sales tax exempt diesel to be provided to fishing boat owners in April and May. We have since shifted over to new regime where owners buy diesel at market rates and get the sales tax component credited to their accounts every month, said M D Prasad, deputy director, department of fisheries, DK.

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South Florida’s boating industry boosts community outreach

Broward County‘s boating industry is helping build Habitat for Humanity homes and just held its first summer camp for high school students as part of a broadening community outreach.

lRelated After strong 2014 rebound, marine industry upbeat on 2015
Small BusinessAfter strong 2014 rebound, marine industry upbeat on 2015See all related

The Marine Industries Association of South Florida is partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Broward for the first time to help build two homes, each with five bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.

Member businesses are donating time from owners and staff and giving $70,000 to help provide the homes for two families that earn less than the area’s median income, organizers said.

“Neither family has owned homes before,” said Phil Purcell, the association’s executive director. “It’s important to give back to the community.”

Marine industry volunteers will gather Saturday, Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. until noon to formally start building the homes at 732 N.W. 15 Ave. off Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

Habitat families generally make a down payment and contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity” to build their home or someone else’s, helping to make the mortgage on their home more affordable.

Association members sponsoring the Habitat project include National Marine Suppliers, Denison Yacht Sales, Marine Professional Training, Frankie and Jimmie’s Propeller, Neptune Boat Lifts, High Seas Yacht Service, Ward’s Marine Electric and Advanced Mechanical Enterprises.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit Marine Industry Cares Foundation held its first Marine Immersion Summer Camp for high school students. The two-week program provided 26 Stranahan High School students with field trips, guest speakers and hands-on projects to learn more about the industry and opportunities locally.

The foundation has organized an Annual Spin-A-Thon since 2009 that has raised more than $850,000 for local charities that support children and families.

Partners supporting the 2015 camp included Boat Owners Warehouse, Bradford Marine and Steel Marine Towing, the foundation said.

Broward’s marine industry last year employed more than 110,000 people and had an economic impact topping $8.8 billion, according to a study by Thomas J. Murray and Associates. The industry’s impact in Broward is four times greater than in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties combined, the study found., 305-810-5009, @dhemlock on Twitter

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

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Marine Products Corp. sales up 24 percent for quarter

Marine Products Corporation, manufacturer of Chaparral and Robalo boats, showed some robust growth for the second quarter of the year.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2015, Marine Products generated net sales of $59,498,000, a 24.0 percent increase compared to $47,975,000 in the same period of the prior year.

The company cited increased sales of the Chaparral Vortex Jet Boats, as well as higher sales of Robalo’s outboard sport fishing boats and Chaparral’s SunCoast Sportdeck outboards, as key factors in the growth during the quarter.

Gross profit for the quarter was $12,604,000, or 21.2 percent of net sales, a 33.6 percent increase compared to gross profit of $9,432,000, or 19.7 percent of net sales, in the same period of the prior year.  Operating profit for the quarter was $6,423,000, an increase of 55.7 percent compared to $4,125,000 in the second quarter of last year.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, was $4,429,000, an increase of $1,416,000 or 47.0 percent compared to net income of $3,013,000 for the second quarter of 2014.  Diluted earnings per share were $0.12 in the second quarter of 2015, an increase of $0.04 compared to the second quarter of the prior year.

Net sales for the six months ended June 30, 2015 were $110,142,000, an increase of 15.1 percent compared to the first six months of 2014.  Net income for the six-month period was $7,358,000 or $0.20 earnings per diluted share, compared to net income of $4,991,000, or $0.13 earnings per diluted share in the prior year.

Richard A. Hubbell, Marine Products’ President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are pleased to report strong sales results for our Vortex Jet Boats in the second quarter.  In addition, our Robalo outboard sport fishing boats generated year-over-year sales increases, and we are pleased with our dealers’ and customers’ reception to our Chaparral SunCoast outboards, which are new for this retail selling season.  Our profitability improved due to efficiencies gained from higher unit production as well as our continued efforts to improve efficiencies within our expanded manufacturing facility.

“In spite of some weather-related sales slowdowns during the quarter, Marine Products enjoyed a good 2015 retail selling season.  We benefited from a strong selling environment as well as continued appeal of our product offerings.  We are especially pleased with our Vortex sales during the second quarter, and believe that this product line’s share of the jet boat market is growing significantly.  At the end of the quarter, our dealer inventories were comparable to the end of the second quarter of 2014, and order backlog was higher than at this time last year.  We are preparing for our annual dealer conference in a few weeks, and are excited about several new models that we will be introducing to our dealers for the 2016 model year.  Also during the third quarter we plan to monitor dealer inventories and adjust production as necessary based on retail seasonality, our transition to the 2016 model year and our efforts to ensure that our dealers’ inventory levels remain stable,” concluded Hubbell.

See the full results here.

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Hatteras Yachts opening new Fort Lauderdale sales center

Hatteras Yachts will be moving its Hatteras Yacht Sales Center to the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Hotel and Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this fall. The company will continue to operate the existing Hatteras/CABO Yacht Service Center at Billfish Marina in Fort Lauderdale.

“South Florida is America’s sportfishing and motor yacht capital, so it’s the ideal place for us to open our new Hatteras Yacht Sales Center to better serve our customers, prospects and dealers,” said Hatteras Yachts president and CEO John Ward. “This is part of the continuing investment that our parent company, Versa Capital Management, is making in our company and operations.”

The new Hatteras Yacht Sales Center, which is scheduled to open in November, will be located in the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Hotel facility, overlooking the Pier Sixty-Six Marina. The new Hatteras Yacht Sales Center includes premier dockage to showcase the company’s yacht portfolio and features a VIP reception area for clients as well as offices for Hatteras salespeople, dealers, and support staff.

“We will have exciting new inventory on display at the Hatteras Yacht Sales Center when it opens this fall,” said Hatteras Yacht Sales Center Manager John D’Agostino, who is overseeing the facility’s build-out. Scheduled to be on display at the docks will include the all-new 70′ Motor Yacht, the new GT70 Hatterascal, both of which will make their debut at the 2015 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, along with several other models.

The new Hatteras Yacht Sales Center will be located at Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Hotel, 2301 S.E. 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, 33316. For more information, please contact John D’Agostino at 954-650-3379.

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Luxury yacht dealer sails back into the black

Sales also soared past the £100m-mark at Princess Motor Yacht Sales, which is understood to be the largest Princess dealer and distributor in the world.

In the year to 31 December 2014, Princess Motor Yacht Sales Holdings Ltd generated revenues of £107.5m, up from £83.1m a year earlier. Profit before tax also hit £39,255 following a pre-tax loss of £2.24m in 2013.

A statement from the company said that growth was down to “a number of steps” taken during 2013 which “began to bear fruit” in 2014.

It added that a better mix of boat deliveries and sales, increased new and used boat volumes and margins and steady diversification of other income streams contributed to its performance.

“Further investments in brokerage and aftersales activities in both the UK and overseas are scheduled to come on stream during 2015,” the group said.

“These, couple with a satisfactory new boat order bank carried into the start of the year, should provide the group with the means to continue its steady growth.”

Princess Motor Yacht Sales also has bases in London, Plymouth and Southampton and sells vessels made by Plymouth-headquartered Princess Yachts International.

The company is owned and operated by the Whale family. It majority shareholder is Peter Whale, whose grandfather also founded Warwick car dealership Rybrook Holdings in 1937. Peter also holds a major stake in Rybrook.

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Tepid housing recovery sets back marine industry

Posted on July 27th, 2015
Written by Reagan Haynes

Dropping homeownership is leaving millions of Americans stuck in rental housing — a trend that some say has big implications for the marine industry.

Homeownership rates have dropped to historic lows, prompting the middle class to feel the strain of rising rents, according to a report released last Wednesday by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“We have seen improvements in housing, but I have said all along that new-boat sales will not reach their full potential until we see a full recovery in housing,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only Today.

In contrast to falling homeownership, rental markets continue to grow, fueled by another large increase in the number of renter households, according to a release announcing the study results. However, with rents rising and incomes well below prerecession levels, the United States is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale.

That could be mirrored in the rise of boat clubs and peer-to-peer boat companies.

“I believe that many of the same principles that pertain to the housing collapse translate directly to boat ownership,” Freedom Boat Club president and CEO John Giglio told Trade Only. “Consumers are looking for alternative means of getting on the water. Freedom Boat Club memberships have exploded over the past five years as a result of the economic downturn.”

The nation’s homeownership rate has been falling for eight years and was down to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from a peak of more than 69 percent in 2004, a New York Times report said about the study.

But even as the market continues to improve — sales of existing homes rose in June to their highest level in nearly 8-1/2 years, the National Association of Realtors reported last Wednesday, and first-timers make up 32 percent of the buyers — it is leaving millions of Americans unwillingly stuck in rental housing.

The flip side of the decline in homeownership is a boom in rentals and a significant rise in the cost of renting. On average, the number of new rental households has increased by 770,000 annually since 2004, the center’s report said, making 2004-14 the strongest 10-year stretch of rental growth since the late 1980s.

“As difficult as banks made the mortgage process of purchasing a home, they were even more stringent with boat financing as a luxury item,” Giglio said. “Again, this has served as a major driver to the increase in our business. Consumers did not want to give up boating, even though many had to give up on boat ownership.”

People in their 40s and 50s have been hit particularly hard by the housing bust, according to the New York Times story — the average age of new boat buyers.

“It’s interesting to speculate how this age group views boat ownership with the loss of equity in home property,” said David Scott of Martin Flory Group, the firm that handles public relations for peer-to-peer boat company Cruzin. “Factor in the overwhelming adoption of both new technologies and social media, and it’s no surprise that boat-sharing is booming. Owners look for a way to offset costs and keep their boats and homes. Those who are trying to get out from under a mortgage rent until such time that they can afford to buy.”

However, Dammrich said the drop in homeownership is indicative of a struggling middle class, which ultimately is bad for the industry.

“The middle class has not recovered completely, and that is certainly a headwind for new-boat sales, but also a headwind for boat clubs and rentals,” Dammrich said. “I don’t know the facts on this, but I suspect that most folks in boat clubs could afford to own and some migrate to ownership after trying it through a boat club. I think a stronger middle class and recovery in the housing market will boost new-boat sales and membership in boat clubs and boat rentals.”

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Dealers enjoy a good first half

Posted on July 27th, 2015
Written by Richard Armstrong

Dealers around the country are saying business is clearly up, and they expect that 2015 is on track to beat 2014 results.

“From the dealers I’ve spoken with, I hear May was pretty soft, but dealer sales were up strongly in June, so there was a nice rebound,” says NMMA president Thom Dammrich. “At my presentation at the Miami International Boat Show in February, I predicted we will be up 5 to 7 percent this year in unit sales, and I stand by that prediction. In fact, it may be a little better than that.”

Lake Union Sea Ray in Seattle is ahead of that trajectory.“We had a nice lift in Q1. May wasn’t great, but it was above last year, and for Q2 we’re well ahead of last year,” says owner Kevin Roggenbuck.

Specifically, he says, sales in dollars are up almost 22 percent from the same period in 2014. “We were budgeting for a 9 percent increase over last year,” he says. “Now I expect we’ll shake out to about 20 percent over last year, nearly double what we budgeted for. In terms of unit sales, we expect them to be in the 12 to 14 percent range of increase.”

Statistical Surveys reports that unit sales industrywide and in the main powerboat segments fell together in May for the first time in 15 months, but they rebounded nicely in June. Among the 28 states providing preliminary data for June (about 68 percent of the U.S. boat market), sales climbed 4.9 percent in the main segments, to 16,202 boats, from 15,442 in the previous June, and by 4.1 percent, to 27,200 boats, from 26,127 industrywide.

The dealers we spoke with considered May sales to be a glitch rather than a trend, and they say June results bore that theory out. The industry has been achieving steady, moderate gains for the past three years as it recovers from the Great Recession.

Fiberglass outboards from 11 to 40 feet continue to be a steady segment. Sales in June in the early- reporting states rose by 10.8 percent, to 4,572 boats. Year-over-year June sales among cruisers from 31 to 40 feet rose from 127 to 143; sales of yachts in the 41- to 62-foot segment climbed from 80 to 117.

“We’re seeing a few more big-boat buyers, 50 feet and larger, coming through the doors than in the last five or six years,” Roggenbuck says. “I think part of that is new product. Both Sea Ray and Boston Whaler have come out with a lot of great new product.”

As further evidence of improving markets, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that new powerboat and personal watercraft registrations were up 6.5 percent year over year in the first quarter and were up 9.5 percent overall on a rolling 12-month basis — April 2014 through March 2015 versus April 2013 through March 2014.

PWC, jetboats, ski boats and outboards are leading the growth, but sterndrive boats and inboard cruiser sales continue to decline.

In the Midwest, Chris Stevens is general manager of Grand Pointe Marina, a family-owned Regal, NauticStar, Four Winns, Manitou and Tracker dealer in Lansing, Mich.

“New boats are doing pretty well — up over last year anywhere from 10 to 20 percent in most categories,” Stevens says. Like the other dealers, Stevens is referring to sales gains in dollars, but he says unit sales are “very close” to that percentage.

Pontoons, up nearly 20 percent, and outboard fiberglass center consoles, led by NauticStar, are up about 37 percent, he says. In general, boats 25 feet and larger are selling better than smaller fiberglass sportboats.

Aluminum fishing boat sales are up about 13 percent, which Stevens says is impressive because Grand Pointe sells about 200 a year.

Stevens says his buyers tend to be well qualified, unlike four or five years ago, when he estimates that half could not get financing approved. Today he sets that mark at less than 10 percent. He estimates that between 35 and 40 percent of his sales are cash deals.

“I think it’s going to be a good year, and we’ll flush through the majority of our inventory,” Stevens says. He cautions, however, that there is “an initial sticker shock for people who haven’t been boat shopping in the last few years.”

In the Northeast, Michael Myers, owner of Boston Yacht, says new-boat sales in dollars are “up by double digits from a great 2014,” and he expects that 2015 will go down as a banner year.

Boston Yacht carries a wider-than- typical range of lines, from runabouts to megayachts. Brands include Vanquish, Hatteras, Sabre, Back Cove and Princess.

“I am surprised by the resilience of the consumer,” Myers says. “Regardless of headlines, our clients want to enjoy their time on the water.”

In Connecticut, Bob Petzold, president of Petzold’s Marine Center, which carries the Sabre, Regal, Edge- Water, Back Cove, Mainship and Ocean lines in Portland, has a more tempered report. “We’re just going to see a modest increase this year,” Petzold says. “Nothing earth-shattering, maybe a 5 percent increase, like we’ve had to this point. I’m still not ready to say we’re done with the recession because we don’t see any consistency. We have a good month, then a not-so-good month.”

Petzold says sales have been consistently positive across his brands, but “it’s that midrange, the 28- to 36-foot range, that’s been kind of nonexistent for us.”

In Florida, Darren Plymale, vice president and general manager of Galati Yacht Sales, did not offer specifics, but says “our sales results are benchmarking well against last year.”

Plymale says buyers are coming from across the demographic spectrum, and most are previous customers.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.

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