Fletcher International bring in administrative receiver

Fletcher International, Britain’s last volume sportsboat manufacturer, suffered a double blow at the beginning of January when they went into administrative receivership and their managing director, Steven Castle, was found dead at his home six days later.

The administerative receivers Deloitte & Touche were called into the Staffordshire-based company on January 2nd after a number of contracts from outside companies were terminated, leaving Fletcher in a difficult financial position and their 140 staff concerned for their futures.

However, Fletcher still retain a presence at the London International Boat Show, mainly because the stand they are on is owned and operated by Yamaha UK, one of Fletcher’s partners in the boat-building side of their business (Yamaha supply outboard engines to Fletcher and handle all of their marketing and PR).

According to Boat Show rules, companies in receivership are not allowed to exhibit, but Nigel John of National Boat Shows Ltd confirmed that “Yamaha (UK) has undertaken in writing to guarantee any boats sold as a result of the London Boat Show.”

It is believed that the loss of moulding contracts from a number of other boat-builders and automotive companies led to the current financial crisis. Last year Fletcher’s core business was doing moulding work for Sunseeker (including interior mouldings and XS2000 hulls) and many of Avon’s jet-RIBs, as well as bodies for a coach company, but when these contracts were terminated during the latter part of 2001 the future looked very bleak.

“The Fletcher boat part of the company is not the major part of their income,” said David Pougher of Yamaha UK, “so if anything goes wrong, it affects everything.” He went on to say “I can’t see this is the end of the 40 year history of Fletcher”, thus lending some credence to specualtion that Yamaha UK might be a prospective buyer for the ailing sportsboat company.

Bill Dawson of Deloitte & Touche released an official statement saying that: “Fletcher is continuing to trade and there has already been some interest expressed in the business. It is clear the company has value and our intention is to trade with a view to achieving a sale as a going concern.”

Six days after the receivers went in, Fletcher’s managing director Steven Castle was relieved of his duties at the company and was found dead at his home that same day. At the moment the cause of his death remains a mystery.