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Old 11-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #1
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Forest River buying Coachmen

Just read on another forum where Forest River is buying Coachmen. Just wondering what that means to us current owners in the way of support. Hopefully it will mean a better product for everyone.
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:19 PM   #2
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Here's a newslink:

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com...m.asp?ID=32693

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Old 11-21-2008, 12:32 PM   #3
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The good news is:

Most of the folks involved get to keep their jobs
Forest River will be around awhile, as they are "financially secure" according to the article
Coachmen trailers will get much much lighter
Coachman may have a thing or two to teach FR.
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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I like the statement in that article that says: "Coachmen Industries, Inc. has entered into an agreement for the strategic integration of Coachmen's Recreational Vehicle Business by Forest River, a large, financially secure, diversified and well managed company with a proven track record of demonstrated success in the RV Industry."

Hopefully that means that Forest River will stay around for awhile.

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Old 11-21-2008, 11:41 PM   #5
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Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc. is acquiring most of the assets of Coachmen Industries Inc.'s RV Group, including brands, product lines and central manufacturing operations in Middlebury, Ind., along with a dealership in Elkhart.

In a statement, publicly-traded Coachmen said Forest River, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will retain the majority of the builder's work force. Coachmen's modular housing and specialty vehicle operations will not be part of the transaction.

ďForest River has agreed to offer continued employment to almost 85% of our RV Group employees in Indiana,Ē said CEO Rick Lavers. ďSome will be able to interview with Forest River to explore career opportunities. Others will be transferred to the continuing operations of Coachmen Industries Inc.Ē

Lavers added, "For 44 years, Coachmen has been a leading and respected RV brand, employing thousands of dedicated and talented people in the communities where we have operated. With this transaction, we secure the future for this proud brand, and the employees of our RV Group. This announcement will also end the speculation over whether Coachmen itself will survive these extraordinarily difficult times, and preserve the jobs of our employee base, in both our RV and housing segments.Ē

Lavers said that the ARBOC mobility bus, introduced this year, will remain with Coachmen Industries and that the companyís headquarters will stay in the Middlebury/Elkhart area.

ďWe will be financially sound with sufficient cash liquidity to not just survive, but to build our profitable housing businesses and continue our diversification into the bus and specialty vehicle transportation industries,Ē Lavers said.

The transaction is subject to approval by Coachmen shareholders. A special shareholders meeting has been set for Nov. 25.

"There is still much to be done, but we look forward to a long and bright future for both these fine companies," concluded Lavers.


MORE NEWS

This morningís announcement that Forest River Inc. would acquire the RV assets of Coachmen Industries Inc. was significant news for an industry mired in one of the worst downturns in recent history. But, based on the aggressive stance voiced by Forest River founder and CEO Pete Liegl last month, the move wasnít entirely unexpected.

As a prelude to the Elkhart, Ind.-based companyís national dealer meeting Oct. 22-23 Ė its first in a decade Ė Liegl openly expressed his intention to add dealers to the companyís network while also expanding Forest River through acquisition. Liegl also emphasized the financial stability of the firm amplified by parent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and CEO Warren Buffet. In the wake of the acquisition news, which pushed Coachmenís battered stock up 89% for the day, Liegl spoke with RVBusiness publisher Sherman Goldenberg offering more details on the transaction.

RVBusiness: Tell us why this acquisition makes sense for Forest River.

Liegl: Well, first off, itís a fine company. Secondly, they have very good, accomplished people. I believe there are some real synergies, and I think it will be good for Coachmen and good for us.

RVBusiness: Will Coachmen RV operate as a stand-alone company?

Liegl: No, itís not going to operate separately. And it makes sense, having been separate companies, to eliminate a lot of duplication between the two such as the backroom functions and the accounting. Other examples are human resources and insurance. We can provide those functions for them at no additional cost or at a very marginal cost because we already have everything in place. And by having more needs for insurance, our cost per unit ought to be less, which is advantageous for both of us.

RV Business: There will also be economies with the venders then, too?

Liegl: Very definitely.

RV Business: Do you expect that Coachmen will operate as a separate division of Forest River with a general manager, much like your other divisions?

Liegl: Yes, thatís the way itís going to operate. And, again, there are economies to be gained here. Today, they are operating as part of a public company. Being a public company is very expensive, especially with the rules, regulations and the reporting thatís required of a public company. I donít have to worry about stockholders. Warren (Buffet) does that. I also donít have to worry about quarterly board of directors meetings or periodic conference calls or updating the Securities and Exchange Commission. So, the compliance they need to do as a public company is now gone for them in the RV sector.

RVBusiness: Can you tell us whether Forest River will maintain the majority of Coachmenís current brands?

Liegl: It would be pure speculation on my part, but we would probably continue with what they had already had in motion.

RVBusiness: Can we assume that Warren Buffet smiled on this decision to acquire Coachmen?

Liegl: I never talked to him about it, but I think he will approve. I guess if he doesnít (like the idea), Iíll be looking for another job. Iíll have gotten fired again.

RVBusiness: Have you released the acquisition price yet or is that contingent on the Coachmen board of directors meeting on Tuesday, at which a vote is to be taken on the sale?

Liegl: It will be released, but right now itís contingent upon when we close and what they have. Specifically, I mean accounts receivable, raw goods and finished goods That changes every day, and will definitely affect the price.

RV Business: Are you also acquiring real estate?

Liegl: All of it, with regard to Coachmenís RV operations. Not only in Middlebury, but Centerville (Viking RV in Michigan), Georgia and probably the dealership up there on Cassopolis Street (in Elkhart.)

RV Business: Reports indicate that Forest River is going to retain about 85% of Coachmenís employees. Roughly, how many workers does that amount to?

Liegl: I think thatís about 600 production workers, along with sales people and purchasing employees.

RV Business: Bottom line, do you see this as a positive step for Forest River and the U.S. recreational vehicle arena?

Liegl: Thereís no question. Iím firmly committed to the viewpoint that the RV business is going to be here to stay. Itís tough right now, but by the same token, weíve been making money every month. Itís not exactly what we want in the bottom line, but weíre in the black.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmmar View Post
Just read on another forum where Forest River is buying Coachmen. Just wondering what that means to us current owners in the way of support. Hopefully it will mean a better product for everyone.
The support (warranty issue) is a good question. If you own a car company and I buy your production equipment and retain your company dealerships and employees, that does not automatically mean that I am also purchasing your liabilities (warranties.) Nor does it mean that I am agreeing to maintain availability of parts that came from your suppliers.
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:46 PM   #7
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I worked for a company that got bought. The people who bought us were required to honor all of our warranty and service contracts and all of our pending sales contracts. In any case, this wound't be a concern for FR owners as our relationship to the company has not changed, but the Coachmen folks might be wondering.
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:17 AM   #8
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Just found out the Jayco bought Starcraft as well.
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimurrrw View Post
The support (warranty issue) is a good question. If you own a car company and I buy your production equipment and retain your company dealerships and employees, that does not automatically mean that I am also purchasing your liabilities (warranties.) Nor does it mean that I am agreeing to maintain availability of parts that came from your suppliers.
Actually just the opposite, they are required to assume the liabilities of the company just as Radio mentioned. Also by federal law all auto manufatureres are required to produce parts for any vehicle they produce for 20 years, don't know if this hold true for RVs though.

The good news and the thing to keep sight of is that Forest River bought Coachmen, not the other way around. However for as many times as Coachmen has been bought and sold over the years I have to wonder just what they are doing wrong. I wouldn't be too confident if I was a Coachmen owner.
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmmar View Post
Just read on another forum where Forest River is buying Coachmen. Just wondering what that means to us current owners in the way of support. Hopefully it will mean a better product for everyone.
I just learned Warren Buffet owns Forest River,did you know that already? Now how will things go as far as warranty work?
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