MCBC Holdings signs letter of agreement to buy pontoon boat builder for US$80m

Following reports of record earnings for fiscal 2018, MCBC Holdings, the parent company of MasterCraft and NauticStar, has signed a letter of agreement to acquire Crest Marine, a privately-held manufacturer of pontoon boats, for approximately US$80m.

In a company statement, MasterCraft says the move provides a leadership position and additional growth opportunity in the fast-growing pontoon segment and further establishes the group as a key player in the outboard propulsion category, which is the largest in recreational boating.

Following the acquisition last year of NauticStar – which makes center console and runabout-style V-hull fibreglass boats – MasterCraft becomes the only boat manufacturer with three dedicated brands serving the three fastest-growing segments of the powerboat industry, according to the release.

“We are very excited to welcome Crest to the MasterCraft Family,” said Terry McNew, MasterCraft’s president and CEO. “The company’s pontoon boats provide us with additional product diversity and presence in the attractive pontoon segment. With its vertically-integrated business model, Crest differentiates itself from its competitors, allowing it to better control pricing, and generate higher margins.”

Crest’s retail unit growth is among the strongest in the pontoon segment, McNew said. From 2011 to 2017, Crest grew its annual retail unit sales by a compound annual growth rate of nearly 23%, more than double the strong growth of the broader pontoon segment, which grew total retail unit sales at 10.9% over that same time.

“We believe we can continue this track record of growth through leveraging our industry-leading strengths in operational excellence, financial management and distribution, while driving further improvements in Crest’s output, quality and margin,” McNew added.

Founded in 1957, Crest operates from a 150,000sq m manufacturing facility in Owosso, Michigan and will maintain its current headquarters and manufacturing facility.

“MasterCraft is an iconic brand known for quality, performance and innovation,” said Crest owner and CEO, Patrick Fenton. “Our entire organisation is excited to join their team, and leverage their experience and operational know-how to further grow Crest. This is a great opportunity for all of our employees, as well as customers, dealer partners and suppliers.”

“As a combined organisation, we have the resources and experience to greatly expand Crest’s distribution after satisfying the demand from the existing dealer network,” McNew said. “We look forward to working together to deliver profitable and sustainable market share growth, and driving efficiency in every area of our business.”

The acquisition is expected to close before year’s end.