BRP CEO says US tariffs remain a drag on its growing boat

BRP Inc. says it has closed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Australia’s largest aluminum boat maker, Telwater Pty. Ltd., furthering the company’s push into the multi-billion fishing and pleasure boating market despite the pain of ongoing metal tariffs.The maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft wrapped its agreement Thursday to buy 80 per cent of Telwater’s outstanding shares. Its owner and managing director, Paul Phelan, will stay on with the company and retain 20 per cent ownership.Telwater marks BRP’s third foray into watercraft in the past year after the Quebec-based firm acquired Alumacraft Boat Co. and Manitou Pontoon Boats last summer. The additions drove a one-third rise in marine product revenues to $146.3 million in the latest quarter.Chief executive Jose Boisjoli is declining to specify the purchase price, but says Telwater notches about $100 million in annual sales.The CEO is intent on casting a line to the world’s 700 million anglers via fishing and pontoon boats, though he says the spate of acquisitions means pausing any future purchase plans around watercraft.Boisjoli says the nearly year-long trade war between the United States and Canada has dented BRP’s margins, with the U.S. imposing a 10 per cent tariff — lifted in May — on aluminum for 50 weeks. Ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China remain a drag on BRP business.Boisjoli calls the tariffs “short-term pain,” pointing to BRP’s manufacturing flexibility and product diversity, which includes ATVs, three-wheeled motorcycles and Evinrude outboard motors. Companies in this story: (TSX:BRP)The Canadian Press read more