9/03/2012

Moxey returns to Riviera as part of new ownership

Former Riviera CEO, Wes Moxey has returned to his role in the company as part of a buyout by Queensland-based Longhurst Marine Holdings Pty Ltd. The purchase, confirmed on March 8, was for an undisclosed sum. Rumours have been rife for some time about who would purchase Australia's largest luxury boat builder, with strong indications that Riviera founder and now Maritimo boss, Bill Barry-Cotter was a leading contender to take over the company.

As part of the purchase, 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.

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.

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 its integrity and has defied industry trends, achieving significant results with new model releases and sales,” said 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.

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, Moxey has spent the past 18 months immersed in the development of a new line of limited edition motor yachts 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. 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 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, Milne was a contractor in marketing services for many years to Riviera. 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 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 Gilfoyle.

Rodney 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 preserve 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.

For more information, go to www.riviera.com.au.

The Riviera Team at Coomera following the announcement of Riviera's exit from receivership

Left to Right - Stephen Milne, Rodney Longhurst and Wes Moxey

Riviera flies again with the symbolic release of 32 doves after today's announcement


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