LUXURY boat builder Sunseeker says the business has been turned around after revealing a return to profit.
It made good on its pledge to be back in the black in 2016 after losing £41million two years previously.
The company, with factories at Poole and Portland, has created 400 jobs since 2014, when a restructure saw it shed 300. It intends to hire another 170 this year.
Audited accounts reveal Sunseeker made profits of £6m before taxes and adjustments in 2016 – a £36m improvement since 2014.
Backed by its majority shareholder, the Chinese-owned Wanda Group, Sunseeker launched a record five new models and saw its order book increase 41 per cent by volume year-on-year. Revenue was up by 25 per cent year-on-year to £252.4m.
Chief executive Phil Popham said: “It has been a remarkable turnaround in such a short space of time and much of this can be attributed to our strategy to continually invest across the key areas of the business, especially our products.
“New and exciting products breed growth in this market and the response we have had for our latest models has been nothing short of incredible. We are confident this is going to continue too as we will be investing a further £50m across the business to support a bold product plan that will see many more new introductions over the next few years.”
He added: “The business is on a fresh course, not just to strengthen our position as Britain’s largest boat builder, but as the global leader for luxury performance superyachts.
Mr Popham told the Daily Echo: “Profit’s determined by revenue and cost and we’ve made significant progress in both of those whilst continuing to protect a lot of investment in new product.
“From a revenue point of view, we introduced five new products last year and ended up with a healthy order book.”
He said the company had “hit the sweet spot” with a number of products, including the award-winning Manhattan 52 yacht, which has become its fastest seller ever. Sunseeker has sold more than 80 of the boats, which retail for between £750,000 and £1m.
Mr Popham said new products were important to Sunseeker’s market.
“We’re very much in the high end, luxury segment and we’ve got to give people a reason to buy. We’ve invested in new product and introducing new products in the future.
“We have pretty discerning customers. As you would expect, they’re affluent, they’re successful, a lot of them are self-made, they’re looking for what’s new. The efficiency we into shipyards and the material costs means we can bring a great new product in at the right price point.”
Mr Popham said the company had been able to drive down costs without diminishing the quality of components.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of efficiency and investment in our facilities to build our boats more efficiently. That means it takes us less time to build our boats then it did two to three years ago,” he said.
“We’ve been successful in working with suppliers to take down the costs of our company.”
The company has 100 apprentices in its workforce and intends to take on more.
Mr Popham added: “We’re well funded and we’re backed by a very big partner. We’re turning a turnaround plan into a growth plan now. It’s going to be an interesting three years.”