Grand Banks buys Australian boatbuilder

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Pacific Northwest trawler builder Grand Banks Yachts is buying Australian boatbuilder Palm Beach Motor Yacht Co. for $10 million (Australian), which is $9.4 million in U.S. dollars.

Grand Banks said its first-ever acquisition will allow the company to tap Palm Beach’s manufacturing processes and technology to further improve production efficiencies and position the brands to increase their global reach.

Palm Beach, founded in 1995 outside Sidney, designs and builds five customized yacht models ranging from 45 to 65 feet that are mostly sold in the United States — its largest market. It was founded by Mark Richards, 46, a seven-time champion skipper of the 628-mile Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race between 2005 and 2013.

Richards also led Australia to victory in the last Admiral’s Cup race in the U.K. in 2003 and has participated in two America’s Cup regattas, representing Australia.

“With Mark as incoming CEO, this critical leadership role will be filled by a qualified boatbuilder with a deep passion and experience for yachting, combined with a proven track record of technological innovation and success in building and marketing boats internationally,” Grand Banks chairman Heine Askaer-Jensen said in a statement. “It is a rare combination and a remarkable fit, coming at a critical juncture of Grand Banks’ own transformation.”