Winnebago Industries adds pontoon boat maker Barletta after great year


After a quarter of nearly $ 1 billion, Winnebago will expand its maritime segment by acquiring a manufacturer of luxury pontoon boats.

The Forest City-based outdoor lifestyle maker said on Tuesday it would buy Barletta pontoon boats for $ 255 million. The agreement gives Winnebago Industries a greater presence in its relatively new personal watercraft business.

As part of the deal, Winnebago will absorb Barletta’s 300 employees and its factory in Bristol, Indiana.

“Barletta’s premium and innovative pontoon boats fit naturally into our broader brand portfolio, with a shared appeal among families looking to create great experiences and memories on land or on the water,” said Michael Happe, CEO of Winnebago Industries, said in a statement.

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The acquisition comes after a year of strong sales for Winnebago, as families seeking recreation with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic flocked to recreational vehicle dealerships.

In the company’s last quarter, ending in May, Winnebago reported revenue of $ 960 million, more than double the figure for the same period a year earlier. The company also reported about $ 1.52 billion in backorders with dealers.

The purchase of Barletta continues a period of expansion for Winnebago. The company bought towable RV maker Grand Design in 2016, boat maker Chris-Craft in 2018, and luxury RV brand Newmar in 2019.

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Barletta, which launched four years ago, has also seen rapid growth, especially during the pandemic’s outdoor recreation spending spree. The privately held company reported 2019 net profit of $ 9.8 million. Based on the company’s backlog, Barletta expects net profit to triple this year, to $ 24.7 million. dollars.

A Barletta pontoon boat

Winnebago paid $ 230 million in cash for Barletta and $ 25 million in newly issued Winnebago shares. Winnebago has promised former Barletta owners an additional $ 15 million in inventory at the end of the year if the boatbuilder meets certain performance targets.

They could receive an additional $ 50 million until the end of 2023 if the company, which will operate as a separate unit from Winnebago, meets more performance targets.

Tyler Jett covers jobs and the economy for the Des Moines Register. Contact him at [email protected], 515-284-8215, or on Twitter at @LetsJett.

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