Monday’s (Jan. 31) surprise news that Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Forest River Inc. had acquired Super C motorhome builder Dynamax Corp. seems to have been well received by both buyers and sellers. In fact, spokesmen for both Elkhart, Ind.-based companies tell RVBUSINESS.com that the two firms’ cultures and products should complement each other.
“We’re excited about what the relationship with Forest River can do for Dynamax, the doors that it can open,” said Dewayne Creighton, president of 14-year-old Dynamax, the principal owner and chairman of which was Elkhart businessman Richard Strefling.
“They (Forest River) seem impressed with the product, with a lot of innovations we’ve done here, and I think we can add to their product line,” he added. “There wouldn’t be any overlap in my mind between what we do and what they’ve already done.”
Alluding to the “relatively brief” negotiations that preceded the sale, Forest River Chairman Pete Liegl says he anticipates few changes at 50-employee Dynamax. Liegl said Creighton would remain at the helm of the company, which markets the Grand Sport GT, DynaQuest and Isata motorhome lines as well as an upscale DynaAire fifth-wheel.
”We need everybody there, basically,” said Liegl, who reported that Dynamax will operate as a stand-alone Forest River division. ”We might do a little consolidation on the accounting and payables and receivables, but I’m sure those same people will be able to be utilized someplace else.”
The sale price was not announced.
”We paid more than we wanted, but not as much as Dick (Strefling) wanted,” Liegl said. ”He’s always treated me fairly, so I’m sure he’s treated me fair here.
”Dynamax makes a beautiful product. It will fit well,” he added. “In fact, no one else is out there to compete with Dynamax.”
Dynamax operates out of a 200,000-square-foot plant on 27 acres on the north side of Elkhart, builds its coaches on big Freightliner Class 8 and smaller M-2 truck chassis, as well as Ford F-550 and E-450 Super Duty platforms. Retail prices range from $150,000 to $500,000.
Strefling is best known for building the Glaval van and bus brands which Forest River previously purchased along with a group of office buildings and manufacturing facilities. Strefling still operates two substantial industry suppliers in northern Indiana — Lexington Corp., which makes seating, and Charleston Corp., a manufacturer of plastic automotive parts.
Liegl said he originally became interested in Dynamax products while on a camping trip in one of Dynamax’ coaches. ”I was fascinated with how beautiful it was and how it functioned, and I guess that’s what’s been going through my head,” he said.
Creighton, meanwhile, acknowledged that the Great Recession has been tough on all motorhome makers, Dynamax included. And that, most agree, was an obvious factor in the sale.
”Yes it was, mainly because of the banking (tight national credit availability),” he said. ”The banks got extremely tough. Financing was something that was affecting us (but) that will not be the case with Forest River involved, and that’s the exciting thing. They bring so much to the table.”