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The business of boating

Japanese were dumping,

rules Commerce Dept.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has ruled that Japanese outboard manufacturers sold their products in the United States at less than fair market value, and that an 18.98-percent cash deposit or bond could be required on every outboard imported from Japan. The ruling stems from a federal investigation that was launched after Mercury Marine, through its parent company Brunswick Corp., filed an anti-dumping complaint in January 2004. Dumping is when a company exports a product at a price lower than it charges in its own market.

Last August the Department of Commerce preliminarily imposed a 22.5-percent duty on Japanese imports, but revised its ruling in late December. The duty still could be revoked by the International Trade Commission, which was to announce its final determination in mid- February.

Brunswick buys

saltwater brands

Brunswick Corp. of Lake Forest, Ill., has acquired Sea Pro Boats Inc. and Sea Boss Boats LLC of Newberry, S.C., builders of Sea Pro, Palmetto and Sea Boss saltwater fishing boats.

The acquisition brought immediate criticism from industry leaders, who say it erodes the ability for independent boatbuilders to compete. Brunswick says the deal is part of a strategy to offer dealers and consumers a greater selection of boats.

Outboard engine manufacturers Yamaha Motor Corp. and Bombardier both announced they no longer would supply outboards to the new Brunswick brands. Yamaha is Brunswick’s principal rival in a dumping dispute, and Bombardier says its mission is to support independent boatbuilders.

Brunswick paid about $51 million in cash in the deal, and there’s a $4 million earn-out provision based on achieving 2005 performance objectives. Sales for 2004 were estimated at $80 million.

The Sea Pro, Sea Boss and Palmetto brands will join with Brunswick’s Boston Whaler to form the new Saltwater Boat Group, based in Edgewater, Fla.

Sea Pro, however, will continue to be based in Newberry, with founder Tommy Hancock remaining as president. He will report to Boston Whaler president Michael W. Myers.

Brunswick in March 2004 acquired Genmar’s three aluminum-boat brands — Crestliner, Lowe and Lund — for $191 million in cash, plus an additional $30 million potential earn-out.

Boat show blues?

How ’bout a rebate

Century and Cobia are offering factory cash rebates to help spur sales during the winter boat show season. The rebates are available on selected Century and Cobia models from 18 feet to 23 feet.

The rebate program runs from Jan. 1 through April 15, and is designed to provide an incentive to purchase from existing dealer inventories. Boats must be delivered at retail, or shipped and delivered to the dealer by May 30.

Century and Cobia are the boat brands of Panama City, Fla.-based C&C Manufacturing Inc., a Yamaha company.,

Industry veterans

are recognized

Dick Rowe, founder of Indmar Products Co. in Millington, Tenn., has been inducted into the National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame. Rowe, who has been in the marine industry for 40 years, was lauded for his efforts to further the industry.

The NMMA presented Bob Selig, co-owner of Davis Instrument Corp. in Hayward, Calif., the Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership award at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition and Conference in Miami last fall. Also at IBEX, the National Marine Representatives Association presented its Mel Barr award to Bob Staehle, vice president and general manager of Kellogg Marine in Old Lyme, Conn. The association says Staehle was instrumental in creating programs that allowed local dealers to be competitive with large, national retail chains.