Alumacraft, the St. Peter, Minn.-based maker of fishing and other boats, has been purchased by BRP, the Canadian maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Evinrude motors, the companies said Thursday.
It said Alumacraft and Evinrude will be part of a newly formed marine group led by BRP executive Tracy Crocker.
The acquisition will allow BRP to leverage the combined strength and well-known brands of Alumacraft and Evinrude, a 110-year-old company.
“This acquisition is a first step for our newly formed Marine Group,” said BRP CEO José Boisjoli. “In the short term, we plan to focus on network optimization to leverage the strengths of both product lines and gradually reinforce our presence in the industry ... we hope to eventually transform this industry and do for the marine business what we have done for the powersports business.”
James Irwin, Alumacraft’s president and a longtime executive at the firm, could not be reached Thursday. He is expected to continue with Alumacraft and report to Crocker. The company employs about 175 people at its factory in St. Peter.
The precise sale price was not disclosed but is less than $100 million, BRP said. The deal comes amid a broader consolidation in the recreational boat business.
RV maker Winnebago Industries is buying legendary boat maker Chris-Craft as it works to diversify its portfolio in the outdoors market. Winnebago — which is based in Forest City, Iowa, but has its executive offices in Eden Prairie — is the second manufacturer of recreational vehicles to buy a large boat company this year.
Medina-based Polaris Industries, one of the largest makers of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, recently said it would spend $805 million to buy the pontoon boat business of Boat Holdings, based in Indiana.
Alumacraft’s roots trace to a 1940s Minneapolis entrepreneur seeking a use for leftover aluminum at the end of World War II.
It moved to St. Peter in the 1970s, when it was part of Timpte Industries, a Mankato-based firm at the time. For the last six years, the company has been owned by Corinthian Capital Group LLC, a New York private-equity firm. It bought Alumacraft from the family of David Benbow, who had been working at the boat firm for 24 years when he bought controlling stake in 1998 and led it until his death in 2010.
BRP said Alumacraft had revenue of about $100 million in 2017. BRP had revenue last year of about $4 billion.
Brian Holcomb, a partner in the Greene Holcomb & Fisher investment bank in Minneapolis, represented Alumacraft in its sale to Corinthian Capital in 2012. Holcomb and his partners, who merged their firm into Canadian banking firm BMO Capital Markets in 2016, represented Alumacraft’s owner in its sale to BRP.