Sunseeker struggles in tough times

Luxury boatbuilder Sunseeker reports a £9m loss

Sunseeker International has slipped into the red after a costly financial year and a downturn in demand.

The luxury motorboat company made 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.

The Poole-based company was hit with an unexpected £6.8m bill to bailout one of its distributors after they faced financial difficulties last year in addition to a £1.9 trading loss.

Despite the increasingly difficult economic climate, Sunseeker has continued to invest in new boats, with £6m spent on new moulds and the development of a deep-water dock at Portland in Dorset.

Robert Braithwaite, managing director and founder of the family-owned company, told the Financial Times: “As we weather this storm of global uncertainty, Sunseeker will endeavour to build on its firm foundation as one of the world’s most sought-after products.”

Rival Fairline revealed in January that it had suffered a 40% drop in sales. The news followed 89 job cuts in November 2009.

Sunseeker has so far avoided mass redundancy by trimming production of smaller models and developing its interests in bigger boats, such as the £11m Predator 130.