Reggie on the Sale of Fountain Powerboats
Reggie Fountain took the time to talk to Performance Boats about the recent events surrounding Fountain Powerboats. Here's our conversation.
PERFORMANCE BOATS: There's been some activity lately with Fountain. First, Chapter 11, then the reports that Hustler was interested in acquiring the company, then new reports that Fountain was sold to an investment group. Is that correct?
REGGIE FOUNTAIN: Not yet, no. Nothing’s happened yet. That won’t happen until Oct. 5, and somebody will buy it. Originally it was the bank; now someone else has bought the bank's note. And that note will then be sold on Oct. 5 to the highest bidder, and that person will then own Fountain Powerboats. But it can’t be officially sold until sometime after Oct. 5.
PB: Tell us about what happened with Oxford Securities.
RF: There are several investment groups—maybe as many as a dozen or so—that are looking at that. And so, one of them certainly will be the one that’s already bought the note. And it’s not anybody known in the marine industry: it’s a company called Oxford Securities. And they bought the note. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll own it after the auction; it just means that they are in a good position to own it if they want, since they own the note now. If somebody wants to bid it up, they could bid it up. It doesn’t cost them a lot to up bid it, because they’ve already bought it. They are pretty well in the driver’s seat to own it, if that’s what they want to do.
PB: What is your outlook for Fountain for the next year or so?
RF: I won’t know exactly how that’s going to go until all this is completely done. I’m not in charge of all the things that are happening. I can’t control them. Not having any control, and not exactly sure how they are going to turn out, I’m really not in any kind of position to make any projection into what might happen until I know how it turns out in October. I'll have a pretty good idea who the owner is then, and I’ll know how I can deal with it from that point forward.
PB: Are any boats being produced right now?
RF: Yes, we are still building boats right now. A few. Not many people are building many right now. We actually built quite a few boats over the summer...not many compared to what we used to way back, you know, 15 years ago when things were going good. We’re building 25 to 30 percent of what we built. But you know, we were building more than anybody else in the high performance sports boat market except Baja—and now we got Baja too. Needless to say, sales on all that stuff have gone down dramatically.
PB: Do you think Fountain will make its usual standout appearance at the upcoming Miami Boat Show?
RF: I would think so. I think Fountain would be there, sure. Depending on whoever owns it and however they decide to run it, I’d be surprised if they didn’t show up at the boat show.
PB: What about you personally? What will be your role at Fountain in the years ahead?
RF: Well, I’m in the process now of getting with the people that are investing in the company to see how it will turn out between me and them. It’s mostly from their point of view; their call as to whether they still need to have me helping them. If they do, it’s up to me to decide if I want to do that. Neither one of us has made our minds up except to say I’ve had an awful lot of opportunities dangling out there, at this time, in the event I wasn’t doing what I’m doing right now.
PB: Imagine your life as a free agent. Are you still building boats? Are you racing full time?
RF: Probably consulting with people how to build good boats that go fast. I’m pretty well noted for that, I guess. And I’ve got 315 apartments, a shopping center, a grocery store that will keep me from starving and having to go on the welfare lines. (Laughter) So I think I’ll get along all right on that. So, probably in the boat business, I'll probably be a consultant or something if I weren't working for this company. As Yogi Berra used to say, “It ain’t over 'til it’s over." I gotta just wait and see how it turns out.
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