Marine Industry to See Modest Growth in 2011, GE Capital Survey Reveals

Hoffman Estates, IL – After navigating through rough waters for several years, the marine industry is beginning to push forward on the throttle, according to survey results released today by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) from the Miami International Boat Show. More...

Marine Industry to See Modest Growth in 2011, GE Capital Survey Reveals

Hoffman Estates, IL – After navigating through rough waters for several years, the marine industry is beginning to push forward on the throttle, according to survey results released today by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) from the Miami International Boat Show. More than one-third of respondents (38%) expect sales to increase up to five percent in 2011, and 54% said that the best time for dealers to increase inventory levels is now.

“The marine industry is starting to see signs of recovery as we move past the recession,” said Jeff Malehorn, president and CEO of CDF. “Through our 40 years in the marine industry, we’ve seen many cycles and we’re optimistic about the years ahead.”

Not surprisingly, sales of lower-ticket items are rebounding faster than those of bigger-ticket items. Forty percent of survey respondents expect growth to be led by sales of aluminum boats, followed by recreation boats (17%). In contrast, boats of 30’ or more were the strongest-selling segment during the market’s peak in 2007.

“Dealers are beginning to order new inventory, but they continue to be cautious,” noted Bruce Van Wagoner, president of the CDF Marine Group. “At the same time, manufacturers want to be sure their dealers have the right product mix so everyone is focused on smart growth. They’re all paying close attention to remaining aged product, dealer credit availability and inventory turns, among other metrics.”

Nearly 70% of the responding marine dealers and manufacturers believe that the biggest hurdle facing the boating industry this year is consumer demand, and 40% said a reduced level of showroom and field inventory is the trend that will have the largest impact on the industry this year.

The Marine Industry Survey of 53 marine dealers and manufacturers was conducted on Feb. 16, 2011, at the Access GE Industry Roundtable event at the Miami International Boat Show. Respondents included marine dealers and manufacturers.

About GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance
GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance provided more than $30 billion in financing to 30,000 manufacturers and their distributors across the Americas in 2010. Programs include inventory and accounts receivable financing, asset-based lending, private label financing, collateral management, e-commerce services and related financial products. For more information, visit www.americas.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GEInventoryFin).

Access GE is a program that helps customers meet the challenges of tomorrow’s marketplace by leveraging the expertise of GE. GE Capital shares tools, resources, insights and learnings to help customers tackle some of their most pressing business challenges. With GE’s global industrial footprint, we face many of the same issues as our customers, and we have developed proven methodologies for addressing these critical business priorities.

GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit www.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital).

GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.

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