Mercury Marine offers to fill OMC "void"
United States
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

The Mercury Marine engine division of Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) wasted no time over the Christmas holiday weekend in stepping in to fill any voids in engine replacement parts inventories that its dealers may face because of Outboard Marine Corp.'s (OMC) filing for protection from its creditors and court supervised reorganization.

In a letter faxed to its dealers Friday night, Mercury said it is setting up special phone lines for dealers to use to discuss short-term stocking and service needs and how to forecast future business requirements in light of OMC's filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Mercury and OMC are the two leading suppliers of outboard motors worldwide.

Mercury said it has received many questions concerning Mercury's financial position, in light of OMC's troubles. In an effort to reassure nervous dealers that Mercury is on sound footing, the letter said:

"You have no doubt heard by now about OMC's filing for protection under United States Bankruptcy law. We realize this is a difficult situation for OMC's staff, dealers and customers. Many of you have expressed by your letters, faxes, and personal phone calls, a desire to reaffirm that you will continue to have a financially stable, consistent and reliable partner of high technology marine propulsion for your winter boat show season, and beyond. You can be sure the management of Mercury Marine is sensitive to this predicament, and will be contacting you shortly to discuss your needs and how Mercury can fill any void you may have, to the extent possible."

Mercury is "sound"

The letter went on: "For the past three years [Mercury] has made substantial investments not only in the most technologically advanced products, processes and service support, but also in our ability to deliver. We have also made several substantial investments in increased product range, capacities, service and support. We're sound, strong and standing by to help."

In addition, Mercury reminded dealers of the 2001 Quicksilver Competitor's Parts Guide, which contains an inventory of OMC compatible parts and propellers that can be used to service OMC products.

Mercury has set up several toll-free phone lines that will be available to Mercury dealers from 26 December through 29 December. Mercury dealers can call 800-962-0927 and 800-708-2293 from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm (Central Standard Time), 26-29 December.

The letter concludes, "We at Mercury Marine invite you to take a few minutes to call us to get the conversation started about how we can help, to the extent permissible. It's the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do for your business and your future.

BII Staff