Sunseeker bought by Irish consortium

The buyout deal from FL Partners promises an "exciting future" for Sunseeker International

Sunseeker International has been taken over by an Irish investment group following a shaky financial year for the company.

Dublin-based FL Partners has provided £25 million of new capital to Sunseeker to acquire “a significant majority stake” in the company.

It has also restructured Sunseeker’s current debt with a long-term package provided by Macquarie Bank of Australia and Haymarket Financial.

Neill Hughes of FL Partners said, “We believe that Sunseeker’s geographic reach, its fantastic brand and its continued new boat development programme positions the business for a very exciting future over the coming years.”

The new investors include Brian Souter, chief executive of the travel company Stagecoach, and Mike Clare, the man behind the bed company Dreams.

Sunseeker’s co-founder Robert Braithwaite remains the largest single shareholder outside of FL Partners, and will retain his role as president and non-executive chairman of Sunseeker International (Holdings) Limited.

Stewart Mcintyre, currently chief operating officer, has been appointed as managing director and Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes will join the board for FL Partners.

Sunseeker was facing debt problems after reporting a pre-tax loss of £9.1m in the year up to July 2009, compared with a pre-tax profit of £17.8m in the previous year.

Despite this, the company has remained positive and invested over £40m in new moulds and manufacturing facilities aimed at the superyacht market.

The new production hangar in Poole can deliver yachts of up to 40m in length, with plans and capacity to expand to 50m yachts.

Robert Braithwaite CBE said, “The combination of significant new equity capital together with our existing market-leading positions is a compelling one; Sunseeker will continue to capture the imagination of its customers in all segments of the market and will have a very exciting future.”


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