Tuesday 20 March 2018

Chinese group eyes Irish-owned yacht firm featured in Bond films

Marcel Desailly, former French soccer captain

Chinese company Dalian Wanda is set to buy the Dorset-based Sunseeker company for about £300m (€352m), according to 'The Financial Times'.

"We bought the best yacht company in the UK," Wang Jianlin (right), the chairman and founder of Beijing-based Wanda, said, although he did not name Sunseeker.

The deal, which follows six months of talks, is likely to be finalised before the end of this month.

Sunseeker employs around 2,500 people and is Britain's largest luxury yachtmaker by sales.

The boat maker was taken over by Dublin-based FL Partners in 2010 after it posted large losses.

FL Partners, which also owns the 'Racing Post' newspaper, said back in 2010 that it invested £25m (€29m) with a number of UK and Irish investors to acquire "a significant majority stake" in Sunseeker.

The company was established in 2006 by Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes, former executives of Bank of Ireland unit IBI Corporate Finance.

Other investors in the Dorset-based company included Brian Souter, chief executive of Stagecoach, and Mike Clare, the founder and former boss of Dreams, the bed-maker. Sunseeker motor yachts have featured in recent James Bond films 'Casino Royale' and 'Quantum of Solace'.

Former James Bond actor Roger Moore, ex-Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan and French footballer Marcel Desailly are among Sunseeker's customers in real life.

Wang Jianlin is a long-term fan of Sunseeker yachts and he bought a rocket-shaped Sunseeker Predator 108 Special Edition used in the film 'Casino Royale'.

Irish Independent

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