- Pro-Line Boats Sold
- Donzi Marine Sold
- Pro-Line Selling Factory Direct
- Donzi Marine to build large boats
It was announced last week that American
Marine Holdings, the parent company of Donzi Marine and Pro-Line Boats, was sold
to a private investor. It had been rumored for a year in industry circles that the
company was looking to recapitalize. The builder is located in two locations on
the west coast of Florida. Pro-Line builds center console and fishboats and Donzi
builds large go-fast boats. Both segments were under pressure before the economic
meltdown struck last fall. "I feel it is absolutely good news," Josh Stickles, vice
president of marketing for Donzi, told Soundings Trade Only. "The commitment of
the new ownership to weather the [economic] storm is encouraging."
New 2009 32’ Pro Line express fishboat.
Donzi valued this movie promotion at $20 million.
The transaction was completed June 15, though details and the identity of the private
investor were not disclosed. "We've established a bit of a backlog. We've been reducing
our field inventory," Stickles is reported to have said to the Hearld-Tribune. "When
the market returns, customers want new boats that they can't find in the field."
The newspaper also reported that rumors have circulated that, as part of the sale,
Donzi plans to eliminate most of its lines of single-engine boats, but Stickles
defused that notion. "We really haven't established that yet," he said. "Larger
boats, twin and triple engine boats are where the market is heading, but that is
still to be determined. None of these discussions are being made lightly. There
will be no immediate shift in what we're doing."
For some time, Donzi has been more focused on its larger models, customer boats
and the more "up market," Stickles said.
To appeal to the high-end buyer, Donzi has increased the average size of the boat
it sells from 28 feet five years ago to 38 feet in recent years. Prices range from
$50,000 to more than $500,000. The boatmaker also hyper-customizes boats, whether
that means a $25,000 custom paint job or an ultra-plush interior.
"Our plan here is to continue to stay true to our brand," Stickles said.
On the home page of Pro-Line boats a large headline proclaims that the company is now selling
factory direct. Customers are invited to call the company to speak to its sales
personnel. This would signal a departure for Pro-Line which has traditionally sold
exclusively through dealers.
Stickles said both Donzi and Pro-Line will continue to run under the same management
team. In addition to Stickles, this includes general manager John E. Walker, vice
president of sales Craig Barrie, CFO Howard Bleser, and vice president of credit
"Right now we're operating both companies the way we have been," said Stickles.
Like many other boatbuilders, American Marine Holdings has been operating at limited
production to reduce inventory at the retail level. Donzi has a production staff
of about 20 to 30 people in addition to the office staff. This compares to more
than 200 before the downturn.
Stickles says Donzi is planning to ramp up production in the coming weeks.
Information on staffing and production levels for Pro-Line was not immediately available.
A Bit of History
Pro-Line was founded in 1968 by Dan Atwood and his father, Ray. In 1986, Atwood
brought in a New York investment group headed by Lewis Ranieri, Lee Kimmell and
Ken Wilson as partners. They formed American Marine Holdings in 1992.
Donzi was founded in 1964 by Don Aronow. The company went through several owners
in the 30 years that followed before being purchased by AMH in 1993.
Kimmell served as CEO of AMH for nearly 15 years before stepping down in anticipation
of the recent sale.