Sunseeker looks to sell majority stake to Chinese property firm

Chinese firm Dalian Wanda expected to pay £300 million for Poole yard Sunseeker

Sunseeker has revealed it is in advanced discussions to sell a majority stake in the company to a third party, reportedly Chinese property firm Dalian Wanda.

The FT said that the Chinese firm is expected to pay around £300 million for the Poole boatbuilder, with the deal to be complete by the end of June.

“We bought the best yacht company in the UK,” Wang Jianlin, chairman of Beijing-based Dalian Wanda, was quoted as saying.

Sunseeker responded to the FT story this morning by admitting that a sale was in the offing subject to approval by regulators.

The company was keen to stress that it would “remain a British company, headquartered in Poole”.

Sunseeker also said it would retain its existing production bases in the UK along with its workforce and infrastructure.

The founder of the company and figurehead, Robert Braithwaite, will remain at the business as group president.

“The potential new majority shareholder, who has no current interest in the luxury motor yacht sector, supports Sunseeker’s commitment to superior products and its premium brand, both of which would be further enhanced by its investment,” Sunseeker said.

“If a deal is concluded, it will be fantastic news for the business, the wider Sunseeker ‘family’ and the motor yacht industry and will allow Sunseeker to expand its global base still further while retaining its current operational and manufacturing infrastructure at our headquarters in Poole.”

Sunseeker was bought in 2010 by Irish investors FL Partners, who began discussions with Wanda about a sale of the company late last year, the FT reported.

This isn’t the first move by a big Chinese firm into the luxury yacht sector – in January 2012, the Ferretti Group was sold to Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group in a deal worth around €178 million.

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