Hatteras Yachts New Bern NC

Photos Courtesy of Hatteras YachtsKnit Wits, the 41-foot prototype for the first production-line fiberglass-built boat, was restored in 2013, making her grand debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Photos Courtesy of Hatteras Yachts

The Hatteras name is 53-year old brand synonymous with unmatched seaworthiness, durability, performance and luxury. In August 2013 Hatteras Yachts and Cabo Yachts were purchased by Philadelphia based Versa Capital Management, LLC, a private equity investment firm, from the Brunswick Corporation. John Ward, President and CEO of both boat building companies at their 95-acre waterfront facility in New Bern, N.C., said “We are very excited to be a part of the Versa team, given their financial and operational expertise. We are proud Versa put their confidence into our iconic brands and that it shares our belief in American manufacturing.”

We are a brand new company, debt-free and have a clear vision for the future

Versa invests in middle market, name-brand companies which have been divested, mismanaged and/or underfunded where value and growth can be achieved through enhanced management. Hatteras Yachts and Cabo Yachts are now out of debt, have new manufacturing tooling and new product development in place to succeed.

“We are a brand new company, debt-free and have a clear vision for the future, ” said Karl Kemppainen, Vice President of Sales at Hatteras.

The Brunswick Corporation brought Hatteras and its more than 1, 000 employees under their umbrella of companies in 2001, but was forced to partake in several rounds of layoffs which began after September 11, 2001. In 2008, one-third of the New Bern based staff were let go, and two regional plants were closed or sold. Cutbacks affected more than half the remaining employees in 2009, and a final round of 105 pink slips was issued in January 2013.

Still, Brunswick had an “emotional commitment to the brand, ” and was very much a part of Hatteras’ stability during the economic downturns. “I respect the way Brunswick and Hatteras worked together during this transition, ” said Kemppainen.

“We lost some very talented employees, ” said Kemppainen. “Working at Hatteras gets in your blood so I am hoping to see many of my former colleagues return.” Kemppainen said Hatteras and Cabo are “looking to bring people back” in 2014.

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