Belfast Telegraph

Yacht builder Sunseeker's turnaround plan sees it sail into profit

British yacht builder Sunseeker has credited its restructuring programme for helping push profits back into the black.

The company - which has its main manufacturing hub in Dorset - has reported underlying earnings of £6 million for the year ending December 31, compared to a £7 million loss in 2015 and a £30 million loss in 2014.

Revenue jumped 25% in 2016 to £252.4 million from £202.6 million in 2015, while its forward order book volumes surged by 41%.

It comes after Sunseeker embarked on a five-year turnaround plan in 2015 under the then-new Chief Executive Phil Popham, which saw the company introduce job cuts and embark on new long-term contracts with suppliers to lock-in costs.

"It has been a remarkable turnaround in such a short space of time and much of this can be attributed to our strategy to continually invest across the key areas of the business, especially our products," Mr Popham said.

"We are confident this is going to continue too as we will be investing a further £50 million across the business to support a bold product plan that will see many more new introductions over the next few years."

Sunseeker - which is majority owned by Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group - has already put £15 million back into the business.

The company currently employs around 2,000 people to help produce around 150 boats per year from its manufacturing hub in Dorset, and is now expanding its workforce.

It plans to recruit 225 new staff over the next two years to help roll out a string of new boat models - including trained construction, plumbing and electrical workers, as well as engineers.

A round 170 of those workers are expected to be recruited by the end of 2017.

Sunseeker has already launched two new models since the new year - including the Manhattan 66 and 68 Sport Yacht, which were unveiled at the London Boat Show in January.

Mr Popham said the response for the new models was "nothing short of incredible".

"The business is on a fresh course, not just to strengthen our position as Britain's largest boat builder, but as the global leader for luxury performance superyachts.

"All this, underpinned by a strong forward order book, means we are extremely excited about the future."