Chaparral Boats makes renewed outboards push

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Chaparral Boats is back into outboards.

Parent company Marine Products Corp. CEO Richard Hubbell said the company will increase production during the fourth quarter to meet anticipated demand for the Yamaha outboard-powered 2015 Chaparral 250 SunCoast that is set to debut in December.

It’s designed for “big lakes, rivers and coastal waterways,”Hubbell said during a quarterly earnings call today with investors and analysts. “And it’s outboard-powered, the first outboard that Chaparral has produced in many years.”

In addition to the new Chaparral outboard, the company is excited about upcoming 223 and 243 Vortex jetboats for the 2015 model year.

The company introduced the Vortex boats during the first quarter this year, and Hubbell said they accounted for between 5 and 10 percent of overall unit sales during the third quarter.

“We are planning to increase production during the fourth quarter …to meet demand for the new 2015 model year,” Hubbell said. Production was reduced to keep inventories low for dealers in anticipation of a strong 2015 model year, he said.

The company also stressed that it is looking for complementary brands to acquire.

“There are some good boat companies that are available for sale for various reasons, and we are looking at them,”said Jim Landers, vice president of corporate finance.

“We have been looking at acquisitions for a long time, and private equity typically takes them for higher valuations than companies like ourselves are willing to put forth,”he said.

But the company is “always ready to get a good boat brand” that complements the Marine Products lineup and comes with good brand awareness and a solid management team, Landers said.

The company blamed its sales decline of about 10 percent for the quarter on a compressed selling season.

“Unit sales of most of our Chaparral models declined during the quarter, but our Robalo model unit sales increased,” Hubbell said. “Also we continue to be pleased with the reception of our new Vortex jetboat.Vortex unit sales during the third quarter increased, compared to the second quarter, and we continue to increase production of that new model, as well as adding two larger models to the 2015 model-year lineup.”