Hinckley CEO: Company will continue to rebound

Posted Jan. 05, 2011, at 8:14 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 28, 2011, at 12:28 p.m.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Tuesday’s announcement that The Hinckley Co. is being acquired by a new partnership means that the yacht manufacturer will be able to continue the rebound it experienced last year, according to a company official.

James McManus, CEO of Hinckley, said Wednesday that Scout Partners LLC has invested in Hinckley for the long haul. Hinckley has been hiring for both its manufacturing and service divisions and the new ownership stake will allow it to continue pursuing its expansion plans, McManus said.

“The prognosis is terrific,” McManus said. “What this capital enables us to do is build on that foundation.”

Hinckley currently has more than 400 employees at its eight locations, according to McManus. Hinckley has two boat-building sites in Southwest Harbor and Trenton, where it is estimated to employ 200 people, and has offices or service centers in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

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McManus said Scout Partners, a partnership between David Howe and Peterson Capital LLC, is based in the New York City area. Howe, a former Harvard Business School classmate of McManus, is a lifelong sailor who grew up in Marblehead, Mass., McManus said.

“He’s extremely aware of the heritage of Hinckley,” McManus said. “It’s important that we have owners that are committed to the long term.”

McManus declined to release the specifics of the transaction or to comment upon the company’s new ownership arrangement, other than saying that Scout Partners now has a majority stake in Hinckley.

Between fall of 2008 and fall of 2009, the sagging economy prompted Hinckley to lay off about 90 people at its Trenton plant. But in October 2009, company officials said they were rehiring between 30 and 40 craftspeople at its Trenton manufacturing site, which it opened in 1998.

McManus said Wednesday that new orders for Hinckley boats, in particular the new Picnic Boat and the Talaria 48, are “very strong and building momentum.” He said that aside from the increasing demand for these power models, Hinckley is focused on re-energizing its line of sailing yachts, on growing its service business, and in expanding geographically.

According to the press release Peterson Capital LLC, which is part of Scout Partners, was founded by former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson. Peterson is former CEO of Bell & Howell, and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, McManus said.

Scout Partners was created specifically to work closely with U.S.-based companies that have shown significant potential for long-term success, according to the press release.

Hinckley was founded in Southwest Harbor in 1928, according to information posted on the company’s website: www.hinckleyyachts.com. In 2002, it employed more than 700 people, approximately 500 of whom worked in Maine.

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