Sunday 21 January 2018

Chinese deal nets €168m for Sunseeker investors

Winner: Rory McIlroy received €2m share of pot
Winner: Rory McIlroy received €2m share of pot

Tom Lyons

Investors assembled by Irish private equity group FL Partners in the Sunseeker luxury yacht business are due to share £142m (€168m) between them following the sale of the business to a Chinese property firm for €350m.

New companies office filings show that Deloitte has been appointed to carry out a members' voluntary winding up of Portofino Yacht Investments.

This shows that after the repayment of a loan note of £29m and other much smaller liabilities the company had an estimated surplus after paying debts in full of £142m (€168m) to distribute to shareholders.

Golfer Rory McIlroy is the most high profile shareholder to share in this cash distribution of which he was returned about €2m reflecting his stake of about 1 per cent in the company.

Formula One's Eddie Jordan is another small shareholder in the company.

Among the biggest winners from the sale were members of the family behind Barry's Tea in Cork and Sir Brian Souter the British bus and rail tycoon. John Hargreaves, the billionaire founder of discount clothes and shoes retailer Matalan and Mike Clare, who made his fortune from Dreams, a British bed seller, were the two other big winners. Partners in FL who invested in the deal also did well.

Sunseeker's iconic speedboats have featured in James Bond films and have been used by the likes of Michael Douglas, Simon Cowell and Chelsea footballer John Terry.

FL Partners bought into Sunseeker in 2010 as part of a €30m deal. The sale to Chinese investors represented a spectacular success for FL and its investors.

Deals including the €200m buyout of the Racing Post in 2007 and the €70m purchase of bed-maker Kayfoam are unlikely to return investors anything like as much. A spokesman for FL Partners declined to comment.

Sunday Independent

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