Brunswick cuts jobs, closes plants after downturn

Parent company of Sealine cuts 1000 jobs and closes factories after unit motorboat sales in US reach lowest point in 40 years

Brunswick Corp, the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational boats and parent company of Sealine, announced today that it is cutting 1000 jobs and closing a number of its factories in response to the downturn in the US marine market.

The company said in a statement that it aims to reduce its fixed-cost structure by $300m (£151m), and plans to have 17 or fewer boat plants by the end of 2009, compared with 29 in 2007.

A further cut of 1700 jobs is being “contemplated”, the company, which had 27,050 employees at the end of last year, said.

Dustan E McCoy, Brunswick’s chairman and CEO, said that retail unit sales of motorboats in the US have been in decline sine 2005, and that the pace of decline is accelerating.

Industry retail unit sales were down 13% in the fourth quarter of 2007 and down 21% in the first quarter of 2008. Total unit sales of motorboats in the US in 2007 hit their lowest point in 40 years.

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“An uncertain economy, high fuel and food prices, slumping home sales and values, rising unemployment and other factors continue to erode US consumers’ confidence and are reducing their ability and desire to purchase discretionary items such as boats,” McCoy said.

Brunswick had earlier announced that it intended to suspend production at most of its US fiberglass boatbuilding facilities from the end of June through July.


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