The Business Surrounded by breathtaking scenery in a southwestern Alaska community renowned for halibut fishing, this business markets the services of (and makes bookings for) eight independently owned charter-fishing boats. Fishing trips spawn 90% of the company's sales and yield 10% commissions, but the company also books sight-seeing excursions (15% commissions). The sale comprises about an acre of land and a two-story building that includes the present owners' residence. The operating season runs from late April to mid-September; the current owners spend the rest of the year traveling.

Financial Summary 1991 1992 1993
Gross revenues $825,000 $944,000 $910,000
Recast earnings before depreciation, interest, taxes, and owner compensation $60,000 $97,000 $100,000

Price $586,000

Outlook Americans are hooked on fishing: one in five goes sportfishing each year. It's a $345-million industry in Alaska alone, and charters there have recently been reeling in nearly as many customers as fish. The boon is partly due to piscatory predators from the lower 48 escaping the sorry state of U.S. fisheries on both coasts. (Sportfishing was recently banned off the Pacific Northwest.) Out-of-work charter operators also have headed north, hatching veritable schools of competition. This community proclaims itself the "halibut-fishing capital of the world." Local halibut sportfishing has recently skyrocketed in popularity, even as total catches have decreased slightly. That has created a bit of a political whirlpool: local commercial fishermen are seeking caps on sportfishing. Their appeal is being evaluated, and restrictions could materialize.

Price Rationale The 1993 earnings represent a 17% return on investment. Stellar? Not really. What we have here is a lifestyle play; the experts say that since the current owner works for only half the year, for comparison you could annualize the earnings by doubling them. Of course, that inflated "return" doesn't all come in the form of cash; you're also buying freedom. The price makes sense if (and only if) you really want this lifestyle.

Pros Since you wouldn't operate the boats, you'd get all the enchantment of the angler's life but none of the entrails. The business comes complete with a place to live, set against some pretty awesome coastal vistas. Plus you get six months off.

Cons Well, there's no shortage of competition ready to nibble at your customer base. Business is dependent on the forces (and whimsy) of Mother Nature. And potential restrictions could put you up the creek. -- Christopher Caggiano

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Inc. has no stake in the sale of the business featured. The magazine cannot confirm the accuracy of financial or other information offered by the seller. Inquiries should be directed to Crader & Associates at 503-697-9553.