The largest super yacht ever built in Dorset has been launched by its owner, the former Formula One team boss Eddie Jordan. It was built in Poole by Sunseeker which hoped the vessel will help it compete with rival shipyards overseas.
It's a dramatic change in fortunes for the company which struggled after the financial crash.
Richard Jones spoke to Robert Braithwaite, Sunseeker President and the yacht's owner Eddie Jordan.
Poole-based luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker has confirmed it is in discussions with a third party over the sale of a majority stake in the business.
Any deal would have be subject to approval from business regulators.
In a statement, the company said if a deal went ahead, Sunseeker would remain a British enterprise, based in Poole, with its main production base in the UK, along with the current workforce and infrastructure.
The existing management team and representatives of FL Partners will remain on the Sunseeker Boards and Founder Robert Braithwaite will continue to be involved in the business and remain as Group President.Robert and Sunseeker’s management team will make a significant reinvestment inthe business, providing continuity and a strong platform for the new model programme currently being developed in Poole. The potential new majority shareholder supports Sunseeker’s commitment to superior products and its premium brand, both of which would be further enhanced by its investment."
– Sunseeker statement
The company said any deal would allow Sunseeker to expand its global base, while retaining itscurrent operational and manufacturing infrastructure at its headquarters in Poole.
The Chinese group, Dalian Wanda, are said to be offering £300 million for the Dorset boat building group. The move is another example of the appetite of Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in luxury UK asetts.
Eang Jianlin, the chair of the Beijing-based consortium is a well known fan of Sunseeker yachts. The Poole company's yachts feature in James Bond films and regularly take centre stage at the Southampton and London boat shows.
A fire has broken out at the Sunseeker factory in Poole. Dorset Fire & Rescue were called out earlier after reports of smoke coming out from a building on New Quay Road. Ten firefighters were on the scene. More information to follow.