Pelican International, a Canadian group that already makes all manner of recreational boats, has acquired Confluence Outdoor, another maker of boats based in the U.S. that did not achieve the economies of scale that its new owners were betting on. The financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed
To be specific, Pelican of Laval, Québec, makes canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, pedal boats, fishing boats and sleds, as well as accessories and parts for all of the above. Confluence Outdoor, founded in 1998 and headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, is the company behind the brands Boardworks (paddleboards), Dagger, Harmony Gear (boating apparel and gear of all kinds), Mad River Canoe, Perception (kayaks) and Wilderness Systems (more kayaks).
According to Antoine Élie, Pelican’s co-founder, the acquisition was a matter of filling in gaps to produce the industry’s broadest range of watercraft and related items, in terms of both variety and price points. “The combination of the two businesses,” Élie told SGB Media, “will produce by far the largest and most comprehensive group in the paddle sports space.”
The deal was announced shortly after the appointment in October of a new chief executive for Pelican, Danick Lavoie, to take the place of Pierre Arsenault, who left in the spring.
The new CEO spent 20 years in various senior roles, including mergers and acquisitions, operations, business development and supply chain management. Prior to joining the Canadian group, he was vice president for Cascades’ corrugated packaging business unit in North America. Pelican employs about 800 people at three factories in North America.
Two years ago, a new CEO, Richard Krause, was appointed at Confluence Outdoor, taking the place of Sue Rechner, who built up the company to reach an annual turnover of around $70 million. She remained a shareholder after the company was acquired in 2014 by J.H. Whitney Capital Partners with a target to multiply its sales four times over by 2019, partly by acquiring other firms in the areas of paddle sports as well as hiking, fishing and camping. Apparently, nothing came out of this project. J.H. Whitney made the investments after selling Igloo Products Corporation, the American producer of coolers.