Landmark deal on the brink, says Jacques Brummer

A South African business consortium this week confirmed its launch into the local market with the purchase of prominent boat builder Austral Marine and Volvo Penta Marine Importer Southern Power Products.

The consortium, made up of four investors active in the marine sector, have finalised a purchase agreement with Paramount Maritime Holdings which is unbundling its non-core divisions.

“The agreement of sale is a combined sale of shares of Southern Power and Austral Marine,”  consortium partner Jacques Brummer told IBI.  “The agreement of sale is finalised, deposit are paid and now we’re just waiting for certain suspensive conditions to be finalised,” said Brummer, the current chief executive of Southern Power.

He said the sale had been conceived late last year and was not directly linked to the financial woes of another paramount division, Nautic Africa, which filed for business rescue earlier this year and are now executing a recovery plan that will see them out of business rescue shortly.  The new consortium hoped to build on the core strengths of both Austral and Southern Power, Brummer said. “We felt there was good opportunity in the business. It also allows Nautic and Paramount Maritime holdings to focus on their ship building expertise,” he said.

Durban-based Austral currently produces three popular ski-boat brands, namely Odyssey, Panache and offshore fishing brand Benguela .  Cape Town-based Southern Power is one of the country’s biggest marine suppliers and official importer of Volvo Penta products.

Brummer said synergies between the two divisions could help grow the business and compete in different market segments. “We don’t want to say too much about it at this stage other than we will be looking at very focussed GRP segments in the commercial space, where we believe we can add value and leverage the expertise based on what we have already done, but watch this space,” he said. “We are also going to look to be a supplier to other boat builders in terms of key components, especially guys who do aluminium work where we can supply the wheelhouse, suspension seats or consoles – the GRP side of it. We want to be a GRP component supplier in the marine industry as well,” Brummer said.

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