The Business Toys for grown-ups: premium wooden-model kits for museum-quality, historically accurate replicas of tall sailing ships, Civil War ironclads, and more. Kits retailing from $25 to $350 are manufactured in a 150-year-old schoolhouse in coastal Maine; direct mail (40-page color catalog) generates 65% of revenues. Company employs six unskilled laborers full-time; role of current owner (who's selling in order to attend to two other businesses) has been primarily financial.

Financial Summary 1990* 1991* 1992**

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Gross revenues $222,000 $269,000 $282,000

Net profit before $47,000 $55,000 $74,000

taxes, depreciation,

and owner compensation

* fiscal year ending June 30

** projected

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Price $365,000

Outlook Exact figures don't exist for this segment of the model industry, but insiders estimate its size to be a stable $4 million to $5 million, putting this company's market share as high as 7%. Chalk it up to experience: this is the oldest model company in the United States, and it's renowned for quality (40 of its models are in the Smithsonian). Still, pleasure, not profit, has traditionally been the motive for owning companies like this one.

Price Rationale Price includes $125,000 worth of inventory and accounts receivable, and $150,000 worth of proprietary molds and patterns that create a barrier to entry in this mini-industry. The price is aggressive: the seller wants $125,000 down, and the debt remaining on a five-times-earnings sale price would be tough to service. Experts say a multiple of three would be more reasonable.

Pros Established reputation, timeless product line, and competent manufacturing operation would enable new owner to concentrate on marketing (and a retail showroom?). Plus, the toys are nice.

Cons "Stable" might mean "stagnant." Unlike their lower-priced, little-or no-assembly-required plastic and radio-controlled relations, these precious frigates aren't likely to see growing demand. -- Alessandra Bianchi

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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 Donald Giancola, Country Business Inc., 207-773-1745. n