BARRY-COTTER AND SEARLE BUY MUSTANG

Written on the 25 May 2010

BARRY-COTTER AND SEARLE BUY MUSTANG

GOLD COAST luxury boat manufacturer Maritimo has acquired Mustang Marine for an undisclosed sum.

Maritimo founder Bill Barry-Cotter (pictured) would not comment on the sale other than to say it was a joint venture. He had previously indicated that he was interested ‘at the right price’.

It is understood that Barry-Cotter has teamed up with luxury campervan entrepreneur Steve Searle, owner of Swagman Motorhomes.

Mustang was put into voluntary administration in March following the withdrawal of its major funder Standard Bank. More than 50 jobs were lost when the manufacturer hit troubled waters for the second time in as many years.

Cliff Sanderson and Alan Topp of Restructuring Works were appointed on March 19. Sanderson says a DCA will be put to creditors.

“In the next week or so we will call another meeting of creditors. It is likely that a Deed of Company Arrangement (DCA) which is essentially a ‘financial deal’, will be put forward for creditors’ consideration, which will result in all employees receiving their entitlements in full and there will be an amount offered to other creditors.”

The new owners will reassess Mustang’s business strategy before rolling out a new range of boats over the next 12 months. The company’s manufacturing facility will be relocated but will remain on the Gold Coast.

The Mustang brand was founded in Australia in 1974 and it became Australia’s second largest luxury boat manufacturer and retailer.

“Mustang had been investing heavily in research and development and was in the process of launching a number of new boats. However, the effects of the global economic crisis weighed heavily on Mustang’s financial performance during 2009 and the business was further hampered by a fire at a critical supplier earlier this year. As a result Mustang was unable to fully implement its strategy resulting in our appointment in March,” says Anderson.

The boating industry has been hammered by the economic crisis, exacerbated by off-the-floor financiers pulling out of the industry.

Australia’s largest boat manufacturer Riviera remains in receivership and at least 12 more boat manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand have either ceased trading or are in receivership.


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