Novis Marine Announces Change in Ownership

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Novis Marine Ltd., announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its assets and those of several affiliated companies to Grand River Investments, a private equity group based in Cleveland.

Novis Marine manufactures the highly successful Tartan and C&C sailboat brands, and also builds carbon-fiber yacht spars under the Novis Spars brand.

"It's been tremendously rewarding to be responsible for some of the finest yachts built in North America," said Bill Ross, who has led the company for nearly 20 years. "But it's time to turn my attention to some other opportunities."

Grand River Investments appointed J. Hunter Banbury to the position of president and CEO of the company. In anticipation of closing, Banbury has already assumed those roles at Novis Marine.

Banbury said that the Grand River group plans to make a multimillion dollar investment into the company's product line and marketing programs.

"This company produces yachts of exceptional quality," Banbury said, "and it's ready for both product line expansion and dramatic growth in international sales."

Novis Marine will continue to move upmarket with its Tartan line of cruising boats, offering a 60' model and possibly a 57' model. For competitive sailors, the company will continue upgrades to the C&C line and explore the open-class racing market.

The company also plans to expand its presence in the carbon fiber component market, providing spars to other boatbuilders and creating new products.

Tim Jackett, Novis Marine's chief operating officer and chief designer, will continue with the company in his current role. Ross will remain with the company during the transition.

Banbury holds MBA and law degrees from Cornell University. Previously, he was a senior executive for a private equity firm that specialized in complex manufacturing, serving as CEO in several of that company's holdings. The firm grew from $300 million to $3 billion in assets during his tenure.

Under Ross's leadership, Novis Marine became the first U.S. production boat manufacturer to employ epoxy-based laminates throughout its entire product line, and the first to build its own carbon fiber spars. The company also rebuilt the C&C yacht brand to become one of the top race/cruise yacht brands in North America.