August 25, 2009 / 3:40 PM / 10 years ago

Fountain Powerboat seeks to sell all assets

NEW YORK, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Fountain Powerboat Industries Inc FPWB.PK, a maker of speed boats used by law enforcement agencies and at least one former U.S. president, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and hopes to sell the business as the recession slams demand for expensive speed boats, according to the company founder on Tuesday.

The Washington, North Carolina, maker of high-performance boats for sport fishing and cruising is seeking a buyer for all inventory, according to documents filed Monday in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The proposal is subject to court approval.

“Business has been very, very weak,” said company founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Reggie Fountain, who said that former President George H.W. Bush has bought three Fountain boats. “Chapter 11 makes it a lot easier to bring in an investor.”

The company is speaking with nine possible buyers, said Fountain. The boats, which travel at as much as 80 to 100 miles per hour, sell for about a quarter of a million dollars.

The bankruptcy petition listed only $3 in personal property, and $19.6 million in liabilities.

The bankruptcy court will schedule a hearing to approve sale procedures.

“If the sale motion is approved and a sale consummated as proposed, any plan of reorganization will be perfunctory in scope,” the company said in a court document on Tuesday, which asked the court to quickly hear the company’s plan. “If the sale motion is not approved, or a sale is not confirmed and consummated, the debtors may pursue a more traditional plan of reorganization or a plan of orderly liquidation.”

Reggie Fountain, known for his own award winning, boat racing career, founded the company in 1979. The U.S. Coast Guard is a client, along with celebrities and the military. said Fountain, in an interview. (Reporting by Chelsea Emery, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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