Mercury employee dies; Brunswick suspends production; Sunseeker to reduce workforce; New dates for Palm Beach, Singapore shows



Mercury Marine employee dies from COVID-19
By Tony Esposito

At this hour, Mercury Marine employees are being informed that a long-time colleague at the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin headquarters campus has died from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The company is using e-mail and telecommunications to inform workers both on and offsite of the news on the heels of this mornings announcement that the company will temporarily cease production for 2-3 weeks beginning next Monday, 23 March.

A statement from the company received by IBI reads in its entirety:

“Mercury Marine has confirmed that the employee who tested positive for the Coronavirus died on Thursday. [19 March]

We extend our support, condolences, thoughts and prayers to the employee’s family and friends at this time. The company has communicated the news to our workforce around the world. In deference to the family, we will not identify the employee nor have any further to say at this time.”

The individual diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, after returning from a vacation to Egypt. The company informed employees on 11 March, and began having employees work from home where possible, as part of measures put in place by Brunswick worldwide.

Brunswick Corp is to suspend production at certain of its propulsion and boat operations over the next few weeks. “The outbreak and rapid proliferation of the coronavirus has disrupted the global marine market and our business,” says CEO David Foulkes. The schedule changes will begin to take effect on Monday 23 March and are expected to range from two to three weeks in duration, depending on the specific circumstances for each brand, model and operation.


Palm Beach Boat Show sets rescheduled dates

The 35th Palm Beach International Boat Show has been rescheduled for May 14-17, 2020 in downtown West Palm Beach, after postponing its March dates amid concerns regarding the coronavirus.

The invitation-only, three-day Superyacht Show Palm Beach, which was set to debut this year in collaboration with the long-running boat show, has postponed its launch until March 2021 at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach (across the intercoastal waterway from the main show). The dates for both events in 2021 are March 25-28.

According to organisers, the show historically spans nearly 63 acres on land and in-water and generates a state-wide economic impact of $682.7m.


West Marine issues COVID-19 update

America’s biggest boating retailer, West Marine, has updated its policies and enacted new measures to ensure the safety and health of its customers and associates. West Marine CEO Ken Seipel has communicated these and other company actions to customers in a letter that can be found at

Highlights of West Marine’s actions include:

  • Closing stores or adjusting retail store hours in certain markets
  • Closing its Watsonville Service Center for at least two weeks and enabling associates to work remotely
  • Shipping items directly to customers to decrease traffic to stores and promote social distancing
  • Implementing increased cleaning policies and making personal cleaning items available to associates in all retail stores
  • Updating policies to offer flexible work options to associates
  • Partnering with CDC, state and local health officials to follow all best practices

In many locations, West Marine stores are deemed an essential business and will remain open on a limited schedule to provide supplies to first responders, US Coast Guard, FEMA and other essential marine businesses.



Sunseeker to temporarily reduce workforce, salaries

In an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies, Sunseeker International has taken the decision to enforce two temporary measures – lay-off periods and salary reductions for a period of up to two months. “We are confident that these measures will help to mitigate the current and potential challenges our business will face over the coming weeks,” says Sunseeker CEO Andrea Frabetti in a statement.


Peters & May introduces Covid-19 measures

Peters May, the UK-based yacht transporter, has adopted numerous COVID-19 measures in order to continue to handle customers’ worldwide logistics requirements. Following guidelines from the World Health Organisation, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Governments, the company says it has put in place the following measures:

  • Preparation: Peters & May continues to plan ahead to ensure continuity of service is maintained. The company’s Loadmasters are now pre-positioned in the US, Caribbean, Africa, Mediterranean and Northern Europe in order to avoid travel restrictions and ensure the safe loading of cargo
  • Collaboration: Strong connections have been built over decades with agents, stevedores, ports, skippers, airlines and hauliers worldwide, allowing the company to continue to load cargo making use of local trusted agents
  • Ensuring Safety: Following guidelines and recommended procedures, all office staff are fully functional and working from home. Peters & May is actively encouraging social distancing and self-isolation for high-risk individuals
  • Staying Informed: As the situation evolves, Peters & May says it will continue to evaluate guidelines and the needs of customers. Anyone with questions regarding COVID-19 and the company’s operations please contact the team

UK Government support to help reduce redundancies

This evening the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the following moves to protect jobs following the harsh impact of the Coronavirus on employment in the UK. The Government will pay 80% of any retained employees wages up to a maximum of £2500 a month back dated to 1st March for an initial period of three months.

They will also make available immediately twelve-month interest free loans to small and medium sized companies. Other measures to support companies’ cash flow will be the deferral of the next VAT quarter tax payments which will not be repayable for 12 months. A number of other moves to support the low paid or unemployed through the tax credit system and cash allowances previously announced have been further refined in the past 24 hours. At the same time the Government has announced that social gatherings at bars, restaurants, theatres, pubs, night clubs, leisure centres etc are no longer allowed and such venues must be closed from tonight. Supermarkets and pharmacies may remain open but other shops are encouraged, but not mandated, to close.

The iconic London department store Harrods, which with its broader commercial activities worldwide employs close to 4000 people, closed its doors at 7.00 pm on Friday and seems unlikely to open for several weeks if not months. Abercrombie  Fitch has announced the closure of all its European stores including its flagship branch in London as has the Swedish furniture retailer IKEA. The US is reporting similar closure of ominpresent shops such as Starbucks.



Both Dometic & Volvo withdraw previous dividend proposals

As a consequence of the current uncertainty due to the global coronavirus outbreak, the Boards of both the Dometic Group and the Volvo Group have decided to withdraw previously announced dividends.

Dometic will not go forward with a proposed SEK 2.20 per share (an increase from SEK 2.15 the previous year) due to expected negative impactson Q1 demand and results. Dometic employs approximately 7,200 people worldwide, had net sales of approximately SEK 18.5 billion in 2019 (€1.75bn) and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Volvo has decided to maintain its proposal – during the company’s Annual General Meeting on April 8 – for of an ordinary dividend of SEK 5.50 per share, but will withdraw the proposal for an extra dividend of SEK 7.50 per share. The Group’s 2019 net sales in the Volvo Penta marine division were SEK 13.3 billion (€1.26bn), level with the previous year. Volvo Penta operates in two businesses: Marine (leisure and commercial) and Industrial (off-road and power generation).


New dates for Singapore Yacht Show 2020

The 10th anniversary edition of the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS) will take place from 15-18 October 2020. The rescheduled event will take place in the completely redesigned and rejuvenated ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove.