Leading British boatbuilder to be bought out by investment group, subject to antitrust approvals

Princess Yachts International, makers of Princess motorboats, is to be acquired by an investment group called L Capital 2 FCPR for an estimated £200m.

The consortium, sponsored by Groupe Arnault, the investment vehicle of French billionaire Bernard Arnault, and LVMH, the luxury goods company he runs, signed the agreement to proceed with the sale on 30 May.

The deal is now subject to antitrust approvals, and it is thought it might be finalised by early July.

The company’s owner, South African billionaire Graham Beck, is understood to have instructed Cavendish Corporate Finance to find a buyer for the business last year. Beck has owned Princess since 1981 when his Kangra Holdings bought the publicly listed Renwick Group, which then owned Marine Projects, the former name of Princess.

In a latter to employees, David King, current MD of Princess, said that, from 1 July, he would become executive chairman, Chris Gates would become MD, and Will Green would become sales director alongside David Pyle.

“L Capital has recognized in Princess one of the leading yacht companies in the world, with a long-standing tradition of building modern, sophisticated, high quality yachts with excellent seakeeping, under the leadership of a remarkable group of managers”, said Daniel Piette, chairman of L Capital and member of the Executive Committee of LVMH.

David King, founder of Princess, added: “This new partnership will bring lots of opportunities for Princess. We could not have found a better partner who shares our vision for growth and who will help us develop a stand alone business that benefits from the expertise of its sponsors.”