Sealine placed into administration

Sad day for British boatbuilding as Sealine calls in the administrators

British boatbuilder Sealine International has been placed into administration, it was announced today.

The news confirms speculation that has been circling for some time about the health of the Kidderminster yard, which employs around 300 people.

Baker Tilly, an accountancy and business advisory firm, has been tasked with handling the administration.

The company is now accepting offers for the entirety or parts of the company, and confirmed to MBY that there would likely be a “significant” number of redundancies.

Graham Bushby, restructuring and recovery partner at Baker Tilly, said: “We appreciate that there will be great uncertainty among staff and we will endeavour to update them at the earliest opportunity.

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“We will also be working to maximise recoveries for the company’s creditors, which includes the sale of plant and recovery of monies owed to the business.”

Sealine Yachts America and Sealine South Coast are not affected by the administration at this stage.

Sealine was bought for an undisclosed sum in August 2011 by US private equity investors Oxford Investment Group from giant US leisure products company Brunswick.

Oxford initially had big plans for the company, including producing bigger boats and creating a ‘group’ company with different brands under the Sealine flag.

But trading conditions have remained difficult, with Sealine’s latest filed accounts showing a 9.5% decline in turnover from 2010 to 2011 and a loss for the year of £4.2 million.

Efforts by Oxford, including restructuring the business, setting up a US sales operation and opening up direct sales office Sealine South Coast, have not been enough to save the company.

Earlier in April, Sealine appointed KPMG to handle a search for new investment, which was widely interpreted as a search for a buyer.

Despite early optimism that a company or group of individuals would make an offer for the yard, none was forthcoming.

MBY editor Hugo Andreae said: “This is an incredibly sad day for the entire motor boat fraternity and the British boatbuilding industry.

“Sealine has been a staple of the scene for 40 years, and there’s a lot of love out there for the brand, with so many people having owned a Sealine at one point or another in their boating careers.

“We hope a buyer is found for the company, which has produced so many seminal boats over the years.”

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