Funding lifeline steadies boat maker Fairline Yachts at Oundle after Covid turbulence

Boats in production at Fairline.Boats in production at Fairline.
Boats in production at Fairline.
Luxury boat builder Fairline Yachts in Oundle has secured a multi-million pound lifeline from a leading private equity fund.

The manufacturer says a significant capital investment programme has just been agreed with the European investment fund RiverRock.

The motor boat maker, which last month announced it would axe 240 jobs from its 455 strong workforce, says the deal will secure its financial future in the wake of turbulence from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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But the company says the new package will not stop the redundancy programme, which was due to be finalised by the end of this month.

Peter McNulty, chief executive of Fairline Yachts.Peter McNulty, chief executive of Fairline Yachts.
Peter McNulty, chief executive of Fairline Yachts.

Fairline says the deal follows a successful partnership with RiverRock over the last 11 months.

Chief Operating Officer of Fairline Yachts, Peter McNulty, said: “By taking a majority stake in the business, RiverRock is demonstrating its continued support and confidence in Fairline.

“The investment secures our financial future and ensures we can continue the roll-out of our long-term strategic plan for the brand.

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“As announced previously, the company has made some tough decisions to right-size the business as a result of the current extremely challenging market conditions.

“This has better positioned the company and aligns it more closely with our strategic plans both in terms of product and regional growth.

“The new investment from RiverRock provides us with the capital and execution ability we needed to fulfil these long-term growth plans.

Mr McNulty added: “The Corona Virus pandemic has put additional pressure on all businesses and RiverRock’s investment means we can continue our exciting and highly innovative new product development programme, which is critical for the sustained growth of the business and to meet our discerning buyers’ requirements.

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He added: This new investment from RiverRock does not reverse our decision regarding redundancies as we right-size our business to fulfil our production volumes for 2020 and 2021.

“Our consultation period is still ongoing with the redundancy process due to complete at the end of July 2020.

“At that time we expect to have a workforce of a little over 200 people, on a par with the size of our business during 2017 and early 2018.”

The investment has been welcomed by Russian investors Alexander Volov and Igor Glyanenko, who bought Fairline Boats out of administration in January 2015 and renamed it Fairline Yachts.

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They will keep a financial interest in Fairline and will be focusing on their core businesses which have been substantially impacted by both the Covid-19 pandemic and the oil price shock of recent months.

Jason Carley, Senior Portfolio Manager at RiverRock, said: “We are pleased to take the next step on our partnership journey with Fairline Yachts.

“We firmly believe in the team at the helm and the strength of the brand.

“We appreciate Alex and Igor’s significant investment over the last four years and our additional investment will now support Fairline to grow and will enable the company to keep doing what it does best – building exquisitely designed, hand crafted boats made in Great Britain.”

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