US giant invests to build 100m-plus monsters in UK

US superyacht firm Palmer Johnson will build a range of multi-million pound motoryachts up to 100m from new bases in the Solent.

The craft will be the largest leisure craft in production in the UK.

SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency, secured Palmer Johnson’s investment in the Solent against fierce international competition.

Palmer Johnson will construct a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on SEEDA’s sites at Woolston and open a new manufacturing facility at Hythe in the New Forest.

A total of 800 skilled jobs will be created by the firm, which began as a builder of wooden fishing boats for the Great Lakes in 1918.

Ten years later they developed their first wooden yachts and are now an established builder of aluminium superyachts.

Jim Brathwaite, SEEDA Chairman, says: “Attracting a large, successful international marine company like Palmer Johnson to the Solent was part of SEEDA’s strategy with partners to secure continued future economic growth for this important sub region. Palmer Johnson is a strong global brand and we are pleased to welcome them to one of Europe’s key centre’s for marine.”

Director of Palmer Johnson Roland Staub says: “The new production facilities are integral to our overall growth strategy.

“Our UK expansion allows us to meet the global demand for our products. We are also keen to tap into the marine base of the region in terms of working with local suppliers and sub-contractors.”

The decision to expand in the Solent follows the setting up of a design office at East Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, last year.

The new facility at Woolston Riverside will open in 2009, but in the meantime, Palmer Johnson will build prototype vessels at Hythe Marine Park.

It is hoped the investment will generate significant spin-off benefits for the marine industry’s supply chain and local people.

www.palmerjohnson.com