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Firm pursues RV dealerships: Gilbert-based Charter Equities says industry is ready for consolidation

Source: The Tribune - Mesa, Arizona
Publish Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Summary: Holding company plans to buy RV dealerships and consolidate.

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By David Woodfill

Sep. 25, 2007 (McClatchy-Tribune Regional News delivered by Newstex) --

Charter Equities said it's going on a shopping spree with plans to swallow up recreational vehicle dealerships throughout the United States.

The Gilbert-based, publicly traded holding company said the industry is ready for consolidation and recently unveiled its strategy to gobble up a share of the market. Charter announced its first acquisition in September of Saddleback Recreational Vehicles in Colton, Calif.

The company's plan, which is posted on its Web site, calls for the acquisition of one dealership in 2008, two in 2009, and three in 2010. After that, officials said they will add three dealerships each year "with a minimum goal of aggregating in excess of $150 million of annual sales revenues by 2010."

Charter's Chairman and President Mathew L. Curtner -- a 33-year-old graduate of Arizona State University -- was unavailable for comment on Monday.

In a written statement, Curtner said "the RV dealer industry is as fragmented as the new car dealers were when AutoNation launched that consolidation strategy, and RV dealers deserve an exit strategy fueled by the public markets as well."

Charter also invests in property and owns the Web site homecompsaz.com, an advertising portal assisting real estate agents in reaching potential customers.

Recreational vehicle sales is a $14.5 billion-a-year industry, said Kevin Broom, spokesman for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that represents manufacturers and parts suppliers.

Broom said the last five years showed the strongest growth for industry as the lifestyle has drawn more adherents from Generation Xers and retiring baby boomers.

Phil Ingrassia, spokesman for the Fairfax, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, said much of the industry consists of independent dealers, with the exception of a few companies like Freedom-Roads and Beaudry RV, which has operations in Mesa, Tucson and San Diego.

Newstex ID: KRTB-0132-19816011

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