Business

Bass Pro Shops affiliate buying Hatteras Yachts

Johnny Morris: Founder of White River Marine Group. Photo: WRMG

May 21. A venerable name in offshore boat builders is being acquired by White River Marine Group whose parent company is Bass Pro Shops. White River will invest $34 million to upgrade Hatteras Yacht’s New Bern facility and add 500 new jobs.

WRMG plans to establish a state-of-the-art coastal manufacturing center. The announcement was made by Gov. Roy Cooper at the New Bern plant which will offer customers demo rides on the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities to tour the factory.

World’s largest boat manufacturer

White River Marine Group is the world’s largest manufacturer of boats. Founded by billionaire Johnny Morris, WRMG brands include Mako, Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton and Tahoe. Morris also founded Bass Pro Shops in 1972 when he began selling fishing equipment in the back of one of his father’s liquor stores.

The Hatteras brand is one of the premier brands in offshore power boats, while the other brands, such as Nitro and Tracker, are more likely to be seen on freshwater lakes like Lake Norman.

Marine R&D

The New Bern plant will also serve as a research and development center for sea-trials and product development.

Economic impact

The project is expected to grow the state’s economy by nearly $1.2 billion over the next 12 years.

“Our aim is to help solidify New Bern as the world’s capital for saltwater gamefish and boat building,” Morris said.

The payroll impact is estimated at more than $20 million a year.

White River Marine Group’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.17 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $5,441,400, spread over 12 years.

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