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RIVIERA IS BACK!- exits receivership with new Queensland owner

by Jeni Bone on 8 Mar 2012
Riviera has been brought out of receivership by Longhurst Marine Holdings, headed up by The Boat Works boss and Gold Coast business identity, Rodney Longhurst, with Wes Moxey returning to the top job as CEO.

Bill Barry-Cotter's Maritimo group had made a final offer yesterday, hoping to bring the deal to a conclusion, but today's announcement is the Longhurst Marine Holdings has been successful in its bid.

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According to the Riviera announcement this afternoon, Riviera alerted its staff that 'a sale transaction had been completed earlier in the day'.

'This sale will allow Riviera to officially exit receivership and move positively forward under private ownership,' it continued.

'Longhurst Marine Holdings Pty Ltd, a Queensland based investment company has purchased the Riviera assets, work in progress and associated companies for an undisclosed amount. Longhurst Marine Holdings has offered employment to the majority of Riviera staff and contractors and has also entered into a long-term lease for Riviera’s 14-hectare state-of the-art Coomera manufacturing facility.

Rodney Longhurst, the Managing Director of Longhurst Marine Holdings is well known in Queensland business circles having developed an investment portfolio in tourism and property.

Mr Longhurst already has a significant investment in the boating industry in the 9.2-hectare marine service facility 'The Boat Works' located on the Coomera River within the Gold Coast Marine Precinct.

Mr Longhurst said the inherent strength of Riviera in the face of recent global market forces was the key factor that drew his interest in acquiring the business.

'I have watched how the Riviera luxury boat brand has so emphatically endured the last four years of turbulent economic conditions. For the past two years and nine months the company has operated in Receivership and during this period, local and international competition has also been particularly fierce. Yet throughout this unprecedented cycle, the Riviera brand has retained it’s integrity and has defied industry trends achieving significant results with new model releases and sales,' said Mr Longhurst.

'The very strong loyalty that Riviera owners feel toward their boat and the company is truly to be admired. This culture cannot be created overnight and is the sum total of many contributing factors over the past 32 years. World leading design, superior quality, technology innovation and a belief that Riviera owners are part of a family, not mere clients of the company; are some of the unique values that attracted me to Riviera.'

Free of Receivership constraints, Riviera will now move through a restructure and recapitalisation process to prepare the company for future growth opportunities. Part of this process will be the creation of a new senior management team to drive the business forward.

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Wes Moxey, the former CEO of Riviera and a veteran of 26 years with the company has been asked to return immediately as CEO.

After taking a 12-month sabbatical from the boating industry, Mr Moxey has spent the past 18 months immersed in the development of a new line of limited edition Motoryachts called Belize. The Belize Motoryacht line will shortly be offered through the Riviera global dealer network of 46 dealers’ spaning 66 countries.

'Riviera has been a very large and influential part of my life and that of my family’s. I am refreshed from my sabbatical and wiser from the lessons learnt in developing the Belize Motoryacht line from scratch with our own capital. I am thrilled with this opportunity and I am ready and eager to help lead our great team forward,' said Mr Moxey.

Stephen Milne has been Riviera’s Director of Brand and Communications for the past nine years. Prior to his full time employment in 2004, Mr Milne was a contractor in marketing services for many years to Riviera. Mr Milne has been appointed as Director of Brand and Sales.

'Riviera free of Receivership, free of ownership rumour and speculation, fully recapitalised, restructured, independent and firmly focused on the future, will create a boat company of unrivalled passion. This in turn will create opportunity for our valued owners, our dealer network partners and our dedicated staff and contractors. We are extremely keen to move forward leaving the GFC in our wake,' said Mr Milne.

Chris Gilfoyle who has enjoyed a 20-year career with Riviera on the production side of the business has been appointed as Head of Manufacturing.

'The news of the purchase of Riviera was greeted today with a resounding round of applause from our assembled staff and contractors. These men and women have toiled tirelessly and unselfishly over the past three years and today’s announcement is truly a victory for the true Riviera believers. This is the best outcome possible for our business and our people stand ready for the opportunities that the future will bring,' said Mr Gilfoyle.

Mr Longhurst said, 'Riviera is Australia’s favourite luxury cruiser brand. The senior Riviera management team and Longhurst Marine Holdings are going to do all we can to enhance this position. With Riviera recording its best result in four years at the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show in Florida last month and February being the company’s best sales month in the last six months, I think our timing is perfect.

'I am proud that we have been able to help persevere 340 Gold Coast jobs and a manufacturing base in Australia. I am also proud to now be a part of Riviera’s future.'

Riviera offers 20 different models from 36 to 85 feet across four model series Flybridge, Sport Yacht, Offshore Express and Motor Yachts.

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