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'Racing Post' investors buy yacht makers of Bond fame

FL PARTNERS, a Dublin-based investment boutique that owns the 'Racing Post' newspaper, has bought a majority stake in UK-based yacht maker Sunseeker International for £25m (€29.9m) together with several other investors.

The investment boutique run by former IBI executives Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes has also refinanced Sunseeker's debts with a long-term package provided by Macquarie Bank, who have also co-invested, and UK-based Haymarket Financial. Souter Investments, the investment vehicle of transport magnate Brian Souter, has also taken a stake.

The investors are buying a majority stake in the 40-year-old manufacturer of luxury motor yachts that employs 2,300 people and recently reported a loss of £8.7m on sales of £303m in the 12 months to July 2009. Its yachts have featured in a number of James Bond films, including 'Quantum of Solace', where the fictional secret agent sailed a Superhawk 43, and 'Casino Royale'.

Sunseeker co-founder Robert Braithwaite remains the largest single shareholder other than FL Partners and will be non-executive chairman of the company, while chief operating officer Stewart McIntyre has been appointed managing director.

"The additional capital will ensure that Sunseeker uniquely amongst its peers has a strong platform for further growth," Mr McIntyre said after the deal was announced.

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