Thor Industries Inc. today (Jan. 5) announced the acquisition of towable manufacturer Cruiser RV (CRV) and luxury fifth-wheel recreational vehicle manufacturer DRV by its Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC subsidiary. According to a news release, the acquisition includes the purchase of equity interests as well as certain real estate used in the ongoing operations of the business. The total purchase price, paid in cash, is approximately $47.4 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.
With the acquisition by Heartland, Thor’s towable market share in combined travel trailer and fifth-wheel retail sales increases to 39.19%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. President Tom Walworth, based on year-to-date reports through October. In addition, Walworth told RVBUSINESS.com that Thor’s share of the overall RV market grew to 36.03% as a result of the acquisition while Forest River’s overall total market share is a remarkably close 35.27%.
“We are pleased to welcome CRV and DRV to the Thor family. Cruiser RV has a long history of building lightweight travel trailers that appeal to a broad base of RV consumers, while DRV brings a strong presence in the high-end fifth-wheel market,” said Bob Martin, president and CEO of Elkhart, Ind.-based Thor. “We see a number of opportunities to leverage Thor’s strength in purchasing and distribution to the CRV and DRV businesses, while utilizing their existing market strengths to enhance our overall position in lightweight travel trailers, which has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the RV market, as well as luxury fifth-wheels, where we previously had a more limited presence.”
Founded in 2002, Cruiser RV and DRV will maintain their current production facilities, workforce and management team after the acquisition. The combined companies generated sales of approximately $135 million in calendar year 2014 and employ 300 people at three Howe, Ind., area plants totaling more than 350,000 square feet of production space with some shared administrative services such as customer service, accounting and human resources. The newly acquired operations will become a part of Thor’s Heartland subsidiary with a management structure reporting to Heartland President Chris Hermon.
“We are excited by the opportunities we see as we welcome Cruiser RV and DRV to Heartland. With a successful history, solid production infrastructure, talented workforce and strong dealer base, there will be a number of broad-based benefits to this acquisition,” said Hermon. “With their production base in Howe and LaGrange, about 35 miles from Elkhart, CRV and DRV have a more stable workforce that is less affected by the recent tight labor conditions we’ve seen in Elkhart. In addition, as we look to grow our combined business over the long-term, we will have ample space to expand operations in Howe as demand increases, a luxury unavailable to Heartland at its existing production complex.”
“At CRV and DRV, we are excited about teaming up with such strong financial partners as Thor and Heartland. They share our vision for continuing to provide our dealers and consumers with great products and reliable service. This transition offers us great potential to grow our businesses,” said David Fought, CEO of CRV and DRV.
Jeff Fought, president of CRV, added, “Thor has a strong history of successful acquisitions in our industry. Partnering with Heartland gives us the opportunity to continue our record of outstanding performance while maintaining the culture and leadership that has driven our success.”