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Bennington to acquire Nautic brands

ELKHART — Bennington Marine, an Elkhart-based pontoon boat maker, will acquire Nautic Global Group, a recreational boat manufacturer.

It has been only a month since Nautic, also based in Elkhart, announced it was up for sale.

Bennington will acquire certain assets and liabilities of Nautic and its brands Aqua Patio, Sweetwater, SanPan, Hurricane, Rinker, Godfrey and PolarKraft.

The transaction is expected to be complete Oct. 2.

“Nautic Global Group is an industry pioneer and has some of the best-known, most trusted brands in the industry,” Steve Vogel, founder and chairman of Bennington, said in a news release. “We have always respected what the company has accomplished.”

Nautic was formed in 2005 through a merger of Godfrey Marine and the Rinker Boat Company. About a year ago, the company told The Tribune it had nearly 1,000 employees and was making about 10,000 boats annually. Its portfolio includes about four pontoon boat brands and it dominates about 50 percent of the combined outboard and stern drive segments of the boat market with its Hurricane deck brand.

Vogel believes the Nautic brands are poised for significant future growth.

Bennington, which was founded in 1997 by the Vogel family, plans to operate its Nautic acquisitions as a separate organization, but says dealers for both companies will have the opportunity to expand product lines. The company will provide more information once the transaction is complete.

“The entire Elkhart area community will benefit from the acquisition of these great boat brands,” said Jim Malone, chairman and CEO of Nautic Global Group. “This represents a big win for our employees, dealers and customers. We’re pleased that the company is being acquired by one of the most highly regarded companies in the boating industry.”