After four challenging years — including the most intensive restructuring in its history — Brunswick is ‘back from the brink’ with all it’s marine divisions getting ready for growth

“We’ve emerged from three years of restructuring a much leaner company, yet retained our strategic muscle, manufacturing capacity and new-product development capabilities,” Andrew Graves, president of the Brunswick Boat Group (BBG), told IBI. “We’re focused on growth again.”

Those words come after five years of the most intense restructuring in the company’s history. Its boatbuilding group has seen the deepest changes. It had 28 production facilities in 2006. Now it has eight.

At the same time, BBG has invested in new-product development at significant levels. Last year’s R&D spend rose 15 per cent to US$20.2m compared to 2011, while its capital expenditures for new tooling and programmes were up 30 per cent. With the divestiture of Hatteras/Cabo, the Boat Group should achieve operating profitability in 2013.

“We’re much healthier and better positioned for the future than in 2008,” says chairman and CEO Dustan McCoy. “Our cash position is strong, we have a completely different cost structure, and our product mix continues to evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace.” Brunswick is also a much smaller company. It has reduced its workforce by about 60 per cent over the last five years to 16,000 employees, while closing multiple facilities across all four divisions.

But its eight US boat facilities are more than enough to meet current demand, according to Graves. “We’ve transformed our manufacturing footprint into a low-cost, flexible model, with enough production to meet demand,” says Graves. Sea Ray will be able to build enough yachts in its Palm Coast facility to meet two and a half times current demand. BBG is holding onto the Sykes Creek plant, still home to its Product Development and Engineering (PD&E) division, for when demand for cruisers returns.

Note: The above is an excerpt of the company profile published in the April-May (2013) edition of IBI magazine. IBI Plus subscribers can download the full report from the website. If you’re not yet a subscriber, please visit IBI Plus.