NZTE unruffled by Navman sale

Change of ownership another step in company's success, agency says

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has cautiously endorsed US multinational Brunswick’s decision to put Navman up for sale. It acquired the company in two blocks in 2003 and 2004.

Commenting on Brunswick’s decision to sell its new technologies business unit, which includes Navman, NZTE chief executive Tim Gibson said in a statement: “This new change of ownership is another step for Navman New Zealand in becoming a truly global, internationally successful company”.

Gibson also says: “Since Brunswick purchased Navman, in mid-2003, to become part of Brunswick New Technologies, Navman activities in New Zealand have grown substantially, with staff increases and capital investment, mainly in research and development.”

Brunswick announced last month that it was selling its new technologies division, which focuses on GPS products. Besides Navman, the division includes the Northstar and MX Marine brands.

In a statement to the New York Stock Exchange, on which Brunswick is listed, Brunswick chief executive Dustan McCoy said: “As we become increasingly focused on our core business segments — marine, fitness, bowling and billiards — we have determined that continuing to invest in this business unit to fuel growth is not consistent with our long-term strategic objectives.”

Brunswick was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrant John Brunswick, who made billiard tables and other furniture. It didn’t branch into marine products until later.

The purchase of Navman was greeted with fanfare in 2003, when Brunswick acquired a 70% stake in the company, for $54 million. A year later, Brunswick acquired the rest of the company, for $52.4 million. Navman was founded by Peter Maire in 1986, and employs 450 staff worldwide, although most work at its Auckland headquarters.

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