Acquisition clears Fairline's balance sheet of debt

Fairline have been bought for a price understood to be around £35 million by turnaround specialists Better Capital Ltd and RBS.

The joint investment has been made through a new company, Masco 30 Limited, through which Better Capital and RBS will hold 100% of the share capital of Fairline.

Better Capital put up £16.6 million to fund the deal, taking a majority stake in Fairline. RBS invested £3.9 million and swapped Fairline debt for a significant minority equity stake in the boatbuilder.

As part of the deal, Nick Sanders, a member of Better Capital LLP, will join Fairline as chairman.

The transaction will clear Fairline’s balance sheet of debt, which stood at a burdensome £40 million at the end of 2009. Some of this was taken on in 2005, when private equity company 3i backed a management buyout of the company.

The chairman of Better Capital is Jon Moulton, who made headlines in 2000 by trying to buy MG Rover from BMW. The company he heads specialises in buying companies that “require restructuring operationally and financially”.

It’s been known for some time that Fairline were on the market, following an announcement by the company’s former owners, 3i, that they were looking at “strategic options” for the boatbuilder at the tail-end of 2010.

Derek Carter, CEO of the Oundle-based boatbuilder, said: “This investment will allow us to focus on three core elements paramount to our continuing success as a UK manufacturing business, being new product development, the implementation of new build technologies and the support of further growth in burgeoning overseas markets.”

“The investment allows our three-year model launch plan to be set in motion which includes the completion of our much awaited flagship, the Fairline Squadron 80.”

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