Balex Marine signs EMEA distribution deal

By: Media Release

Balex Marine, manufacturers of the innovative Automatic Boat Loader, have signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with Forge Group.

"Forge Group is a new and innovative marine distribution company with excellent connections in our key target markets," said Balex Marine managing director Paul Symes. "They also have long experience of working with Kiwi start-up companies, which makes them an excellent fit for us."

The agreement was signed with Forge Group co-founders Matt Forbes and James George in Tauranga last month.

The hydraulically powered ABL is installed on trailers and lets users launch and retrieve their boat without getting their feet wet, using a remote control that allows boaties to start, stop or pause the process at the touch of a button.

Forge Group officially launched the ABL2500 at a Marine Press Conference in the UK earlier this month. The ABL2500 will then make its European debut at the Southampton Boat Show in September, followed by the Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam in November 2016.

The balance of 2016 will be focused on securing a CE Mark and establishing key partnerships with leading trailer and boat manufacturers in the region. The target over the following three years will be to establish annual distribution of 1,500 units per annum.

Forge Group was founded in 2015 with a primary focus on the EMEA Marine Industry. The founders’ background includes distribution of world-class brands such as Samsung, Sony Vaio, Lenovo, Navman, Fusion and Garmin. Matt Forbes worked with Navman founder Sir Peter Maire for a decade and has experience establishing marine channels with Navman, Fusion and Garmin. Forge Group also distribute ProLan, a high-performance anti-corrosion product that was developed in the Bay of Plenty.

The Forge Group founders spent a day out with Milan Radonich and the team from TV show Big Angry Fish, who have had an ABL2500 installed on their boat trailer for the past three months.

"The boat launch was impressive but the retrieval was amazing," said Forbes, adding that he had the best day’s fishing of his life, including catching a giant kingfish.

"We had seen the ABL demonstrated, but this was a real life demo with the product being used in the field. From being in the water, to parked in the car park, took 90 seconds. It was unbelievable."

Forbes said Forge Group would initially focus on core markets the UK, Germany, France, and Scandinavia, where there were a lot of boats in the target size of 5-9 metres.

"There’s more and more innovation around motorboating in Europe now to try and get people out on the water for longer," he said. "The ABL is about accessibility and safety. And it’s about enjoyment, because it takes the hassle out of launching and retrieving."

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