Gunboat, the builder of multi-million dollar, high-performance catamarans that located in Wanchese nearly four years ago, then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall, is reportedly going up for auction.
The marine industry publication TradeOnlyToday.com reported Monday that the company has made a motion with the bankruptcy court for a stalking horse bidder.
“The debtor seeks to sell the assets free and clear of all liens, claims, encumbrances, interests and any other rights,” said court documents cited in the report.
Typically, a stalking horse bidder is someone chosen from a pool of bidders by the bankrupt company to make the first bid in an effort to avoid bids lower than the value of the company’s assets.
Gunboat set up shop in the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park in spring 2012 and was one of the few companies in northeastern North Carolina that met employment goals set out when it received a grant from the state’s “One North Carolina” economic incentives program.
Johnstone blamed a series of mistakes, disputes and adverse business conditions for the company’s struggles over the past two years.“In a period of non-stop accolades and introduction of several terrific new models, Gunboat has been quietly struggling behind the scenes for nearly two years,” said founder Peter Johnstone in a statement issued in November.
Chief among them was that the ramp-up of production in Wanchese took longer and cost more than expected and the highly-publicized abandonment by the owner and crew of the Gunboat 55 Rainmaker 200 miles of Cape Hatteras in Cape Hatteras.
Other problems, he said, included sorting out issues between Gunboat and the Chinese builder of the Gunboat 60 Series, and the recent collision of a G4 with a photo boat during a magazine test in Annapolis, Md., that led to a slowdown in sales of the model.
“I could have overcome maybe one or two of these challenges, but certainly not all of these in one short period of time,” Johnstone said in the statement. But he was optimistic at that time the company could recover.
Trade Only Today reported that court documents said Gunboat had between 100 and 199 creditors and assets of $1 million to $10 million.
A list of the largest 20 creditors amounted to roughly $6,025,845 million in claims, and documents filed in December showed that unsecured claims against the company totaled $10,133,947.32, according to the report.
source: Sam Walker, Outer Banks Voice