A group of Irish investors has taken a majority stake in luxury boatbuilder Sunseeker. FL Capital Partners, based in Blackrock, Co Dublin, has partnered with Australian bank Macquaried and Haymarket financial to pay €29.9million for the controlling interest in Sunseeker, in a move dubbed by the Wall Stree Journal as a 'rare vote of confidence for a business in a sector that has been badly hit by the financial crisis'.
The consortium is no stranger to taking a gamble - it also owns the Racing Post newspaper.
The move comes despite Sunseeker slipping into the red last year. The luxury motorboat company made a pre-tax loss of £9.1m in the year up to July 2009, compared with a pre-tax profit of £17.8m in the previous year. The Poole-based company was hit with an unexpected £6.8m bill to bailout one of its distributors after they faced financial difficulties last year in addition to a £1.9 trading loss.
Despite the increasingly difficult economic climate, Sunseeker has continued to invest in new boats, with £6m spent on new moulds and the development of a deep-water dock at Portland in Dorset.