Two of Elkhart County’s largest employers are merging in a deal that will shake up the entire recreational vehicle industry.
Elkhart, Indiana-based Thor Industries, Inc. announced the acquisition of Middlebury, Indiana-based Jayco, Corp. for approximately $576 million in cash.
This transaction represents a unique and significant opportunity to enhance the growth of Thor and advance the Company’s strategic focus on growing its recreational vehicle business, according to a corporate news release.
In particular, Jayco brings complementary products in travel trailers, folding camping trailers, higher-end diesel Class A motorhomes, and larger Class C motorhomes. Jayco will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Thor, and the existing senior management team will continue to lead the business.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jayco to the Thor portfolio of companies,” said Bob Martin, Thor President and CEO.
“Jayco is a company that I have admired for more than 20 years while working in the industry and living in the community very close to their operations. We value the longstanding success of Jayco and are committed to providing the Bontrager family, and their team of dedicated employees, the resources they need to continue the success they have built at Jayco over the past half century.
“This investment also illustrates our confidence in the future of the RV industry as younger consumers enter and expand the market over the coming decades. Both existing and new RVers will see the benefits of our subsidiaries’ efforts as they lead in innovation with new technology and features in our products that make RVs easier to use and better connected.”
“Our family is very proud of the legacy we have established and nurtured over the past 48 years,” commented Wilbur Bontrager, Chairman of the Board of Jayco.
“As a family run and owned business, we view today’s transaction as an opportunity to continue growing our business while joining an even larger family.”
“The core values that are synonymous with Jayco and its brands shape the way we run our business, and these values will remain and guide us as we look to the future,” stated Derald Bontrager, President and CEO of Jayco.
“One of the things we found most attractive about Thor was their decentralized business structure, which allows their subsidiaries to continue operating independently. Most importantly, within this structure, our current leadership team will continue to manage Jayco, just as we have been running it since our founding. We will continue with the same focus our father had on serving our dealers and consumers better than anyone else in the industry.”
The deal comes as RV sales are surging amid the nation’s economic recovery. RV shipments last year rose to 374,246 and are on pace to surpass 381,000 this year. That growth has led to a wave of hiring at Jayco, which has gone from 1,100 workers during the recession to 3,300.
The Purchase Agreement was executed and effective on June 30, 2016.
Jayco generated income before tax of approximately $70 million on revenue of approximately $1.5 billion in calendar year 2015. Thor had $4 billion in revenue.
Jayco, and its subsidiaries Jayco, Starcraft RV, Highland Ridge, and Entegra Coach currently operate in 31 facilities which include 17 production lines covering 2.2 million square feet of production space located primarily in Northern Indiana with additional facilities in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Thor will operate Jayco as an independent company as it does with its other subsidiaries. It will be “business as usual” at Jayco as their existing, experienced management team will continue to manage their operations and compete effectively in the RV market, just as they and their family have done for the past 48 years.
Thor Industries is the sole owner of operating subsidiaries that, combined, represent one of the world’s largest manufacturers of recreational vehicles.
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