Michael Happe

During the company’s first-quarter quarter conference call, Winnebago Industries Inc. President and CEO Michael Happe said the reason the company acquired Chris-Craft, a recreational boat builder, was not only for diversity but to tap burgeoning growth opportunities in the marine segment.

“We believe the marine market has significant runway for growth and significant overlap with the RV market in terms of customer demographics, lifestyle and ownership crossover,” said Happe on the call. “The marine industry is growing as well and increasingly attracting new boaters.”

But he also reiterated that diversifying beyond the RV market within the outdoor lifestyle space remains a strategic priority for the company.

“We believe the Chris-Craft and the marine market are an ideal initial step towards doing so,” said Happe. “The legendary Chris-Craft brand shares many similarities with our own heritage Winnebago flagship brand. It’s strong brand; its high-quality product lines and premium position in the market make it a natural fit for us.”

The business was sold by Stellican Ltd., which had owned Chris-Craft since 2001.Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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