Dublin-based private equity firm acquires majority stake

A group of British and Irish investors led by FL Partners, a Dublin-based private equity firm, has acquired a majority stake in UK boatbuilder Sunseeker International for £25m.

Earlier this year, Sunseeker reported a pre-tax loss of £9.1m for the year ended July 31, 2009 compared to a pre-tax profit of £17.8 in the same period in 2008.

Robert Braithwaite, Sunseeker’s co-founder, remains the largest single shareholder outside FL Partners, and will serve as president and non-executive chairman of Sunseeker International (Holdings) Limited.

Joining the board with Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes of FL Partners will be Andy Macfie of Souter Investments LLP.

“I am delighted to welcome Neill and Peter to the Sunseeker board as my partners,” says Braithwaite. “The combination of significant new equity capital together with our existing market-leading positions is a compelling one; Sunseeker will continue to capture the imagination of its customers in all segments of the market and will have a very exciting future.”

Stewart McIntyre, Sunseeker’s chief operating officer, has been appointed managing director.

“Whilst we continue to operate in a recovering market place, Sunseeker is one of the few luxury yacht manufacturers which has maintained consistent sales revenue in recent years, itself a reflection of the global standing of the business, its products and the strength of its brand,” says McIntyre.

“Our products are in strong demand throughout the world. The new investors — working together with the existing management team at Sunseeker — are dedicated to continued success through innovation, and the additional capital will ensure that Sunseeker uniquely amongst its peers has a strong platform for further growth,” he adds.

Sunseeker recently invested over £40m expanding its manufacturing facilities and product range in Poole, Dorset to deliver yachts of up to 40m (131ft) in length, with plans and capacity to expand to 50m (164ft) yachts. The company exports globally and employs around 2,300 people.