Liberty severs AMH ties

Published 12:23 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Liberty Associates no longer provides management services for American Marine Holdings, which builds the Fountain, Donzi and Pro-Line boat lines in Beaufort County, according to a news release.

Liberty Associates’ affiliate transferred its nominee ownership interest in AMH to First Capital, a portfolio company of HIG Capital. First Capital is based in Boca Raton, Fla. First Capital, which furnishes financing in the forms of factoring arrangements and asset-based loans, provides working-capital financing typically ranging from $3 million to $20 million, mostly to small- and middle-market entrepreneurs with annual sales ranging from $10 million to $100 million, according the First Capital website.

The release provided no reason for the change. It also made no mention of the Baja line of boats also built at the Fountain Powerboats complex on Whichard’s Beach Road.

It was unclear how the change could affect the boat-building complex on Whichard’s Beach Road, where the Fountain, Donzi, Pro-Line boat lines are built.

A telephone message left for John Walker, president and CEO of Fountain, on Monday afternoon was not returned by late Monday afternoon. A second phone call to the Fountain Powerboats complex shortly before 5 p.m. Monday resulted in an operator informing the caller that Walker had left for the day. A telephone message left with First Capital’s public-relations firm Monday afternoon also was not returned by the deadline.

“Liberty has enjoyed its part in steering the company through the very difficult times that the boat manufacturing industry has experienced recently and wishes FCC continued success with AMH in the future,” the company said in the release.

In 2009, after Fountain Powerboats filed for bankruptcy, Liberty Associates and Fountain filed a joint reorganization plan, with Liberty Associates obtaining Fountain Powerboats. Reggie Fountain, founder and former owner of Fountain Powerboats, was kept on as chief executive officer. Later, in 2010, Fountain and Liberty Associates went their separate ways.

Earlier this year, Reggie Fountain sued his former company for money he contends is owed him and trophies and photographs from his racing career. In counterclaims, Fountain Powerboats alleges Reggie Fountain took company property and trade secrets when he left the company.