Four years after acquiring brands out of bankruptcy, Platinum Equity has announced the sale of Cadillac, Michigan-based Rec Boat Holdings (RBH) to St. Gilles Croix de vie Cedex, France-based Bénéteau Group. RBH is the manufacturer of Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Scarab brand boats.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"RBH has come a long way in the last four years thanks to a lot of hard work, a strong management team, great support from the dealer network and the dedication of so many committed employees,' said Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson, who led the acquisition. "With the turnaround complete and the business on sound operational footing, the time is right for a transition to new ownership. Bénéteau Group is a world leader in boat manufacturing and is a perfect strategic fit for the Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Scarab brands. We are putting the business in good hands going forward.'
Platinum Equity acquired the portfolio of boat brands and related assets in 2010 from Genmar Holdings, Inc., through a transaction conducted under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Platinum Equity retains ownership of Flippin, Arkansas-based Fishing Boat Holdings, maker of the Ranger, Triton and Stratos boat brands that were also acquired at that time.
The sale of RBH comes following four years of transformation and growth initiatives.
"Platinum Equity provided the commitment and the resources we needed to revive the business,' said RBH CEO Roch Lambert. "We have made remarkable progress on each of the core components of our turnaround: improved manufacturing efficiency, world class products and a powerful distribution network. We have delivered on that strategy by constantly improving our processes and inspiring our people to be successful. The team in Cadillac is excited to join such a prestigious boat company as Bénéteau Group and we look forward to the opportunities ahead.'
Highlights of the operational turnaround over the last four years include:
• Assembled a top-flight management team in 2010 led by Mr. Lambert, an experienced operator in the boat and engine manufacturing industries.
• Redesigned the overall Four Winns and Glastron product lines, launching more than 35 new models of Four Winns and Glastron boats since 2010. Currently revitalizing the Wellcraft line up in model year 2014 with updated interiors, along with new future models in the design phase.
• Rejuvenated the manufacturing operations in Cadillac, Michigan, doubling employment at the facility from 2010 to today. Under Platinum Equity's ownership the company says it has invested approximately US $9 million in capital improvements at the Cadillac manufacturing facility and enacted major quality and manufacturing efficiency initiatives that resulted in more streamlined production processes and improved finished product.
• Launched the new Scarab line of jet boats in 2014 with three new models in market today. A new Scarab dealer network was built from the ground up in 2013 with the company adding over 120 retailers worldwide.
• Implemented a global network development plan to improve dealer relations. Based on feedback from the field, created stronger differentiation between the boat brands with each offering unique attributes and distinctive styling.
Founded by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity also owns Michigan-based businesses Active Aero, Chassix, the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E).
Platinum Equity, founded by Tom Gores in 1995, is a global investment firm with more than US $7 billion in assets under management and a portfolio of operating companies that generated approximately US $15 billion in revenue in 2013. Over the past 19 years Platinum Equity has completed more than 150 acquisitions.