Saturday, July 31, 2010

Brunswick halts 2 lines, lays off 135 in Ashland City

ASHLAND CITY — Brunswick Corp. has shut down two of its three boat assembly lines in Ashland City, laying off 135 workers, and is "exploring options" for the third line but will keep it running at least through the end of the year, the company said Friday.
The moves are partially the result of Brunswick's sale on Thursday of its Triton boat line to Fishing Holdings LLC, a unit of Platinum Equity.

One of the three lines at the Ashland City facility produced the Triton fiberglass fishing and recreational boats, but Fishing Holdings will move production of those boats to its own plant in Flippin, Ark., in September.

Separately, Brunswick will transfer production of its Lund fiberglass boats to the Brunswick Boat Group's Tellico fiberglass manufacturing plant in Vonore, Tenn. The Lund brand was not part of the Triton deal.

About 90 people will remain employed making Brunswick's Trophy brand fiberglass boats at the Ashland City plant until the Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick decides what to do with that line. It wasn't included in the Triton sale, either.

"This decision was part of our ongoing strategic review to further refine our product portfolio and best focus our resources on those brands and marine segments that we believe are core to our success going forward," Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dustan E. McCoy said in an announcement of the Triton sale.

"These decisions, while strategic in nature, are never easy or without difficult consequences," he said. "But they are nevertheless required by business realities, and are no reflection upon the dedication and expertise of the men and women at the Ashland City facility."

Triton founder to stay

Brunswick bought Triton Boats in 2005 from Earl Bentz, 58, of Nashville, who founded the company in 1996 and stayed on as CEO after the sale to Brunswick.

Bentz said Friday that he will continue to lead Triton under Platinum Equity as well, a move that reunites him with the Stratos line of boats that he founded in 1983. Platinum Equity bought the Stratos and Ranger brands out of bankruptcy from Genmar Corp. in January and subsequently moved production from Murfreesboro to Flippin.

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