Our visit at the yard in Poole yesterday could not take place in any other better occasion: during our meeting with Eng. Andrea Frabetti, now at the helm of the British yard as new CEO after a short period of time as CTO, confirmed the sale of the first Sunseeker 161, the new tri-deck yacht in the 50 metre segment anticipated last year and which is now under construction at the Icon Yachts’ facility in Holland.
At the moment the British yard is not looking at yachts of larger sizes, as one could think since the recent launch of the new Superyacht division. The 50m range is the maximum limit within which they want to strength the brand for now: as a matter of fact, Sunseeker has already built 137 yachts so far in the superyacht segment; from 2001 they have built 10 units of the 105, 12 units of Predator 108, 8 units of a 37m model, 15 units of a 34m model, 15 units of a 30m model, 6 units of Predator 130, 15 units of a 40m model, 18 units of the 115 sport and 2 of the 101 sport, 2 units of the 155, 15 units of the 131 and 19 units of the 116 model.
With Sunseeker 161, the yard moves into the world of metal-built yachts (all aluminium) to meet the demand they have received from their owners for even larger Sunseeker vessels. This development will see the British brand partner with Dutch builders, ICON Yachts, where the construction will take place until its launch in 2021. This new venture moves the brand into a completely different method of build for the first time in its 50-year history. It requires different expertise and, as Frabetti explains to us “it was essential to find the right partner to support this project. We needed to find experience and expertise in metal build but also a yard that shared the same progressive vision in order to create a true Sunseeker”.
This new partnership with ICON is the next stage in that remarkable growth story and will be marketed and sold by Sunseeker under the “Sunseeker by ICON” nomenclature. Measuring in at <500GT, this new 48m tri-deck yacht follows the iconic Sunseeker exterior lines and offers exceptional space and volume, with an interior that can be styled to each owner’s unique taste via Sunseeker’s unique ‘Bespoke’ service. The theme throughout is one of space and flexibility, maximising volume and providing compelling features to enhance enjoyment on board. Many of these features are usually only associated with much larger craft including the plunge pool on the main deck and the exceptional beach club with drop down bulwarks and transom to create an incredible space for relaxing or entertaining close to the water. Standard guest configuration is for 10 guests in five cabins, with scope for up to 12 to be accommodated depending upon layout chosen.
The theme throughout is one of space and flexibility, maximising volume and providing compelling features to enhance enjoyment on board. Many of these features are usually only associated with much larger craft including the plunge pool on the main deck and the exceptional beach club with drop down bulwarks and transom to create an incredible space for relaxing or entertaining close to the water.
As to the interior design created by Design Unlimited, the contract has been signed with the proposal of the yard but it is not excluded that the owner will make other choices.
But Sunseeker has activated a further partership, as explains Frabetti, in order to develop the new range of metal-built superyachts from 30.7 metres to 49 metres. The 40 metre 133 Yacht, unveiled at the Cannes Yachting Festival, will be built at Pendennis, a world-class and award winning custom build and refit superyacht yard in Falmouth, UK, specialising in luxury sail and motor yachts 30-100m.
This second collaboration is part of a major expansion plan which will see the yard renew its range and double the number of the models up to 22. As Frabetti explained to us yesterday “the yard needed to renew its own range, there were still some models in the offer for which we received no more interest for long time”. When I presented to our ownership a development plan based on the renewal of almost the entire range, supporting it with growth forecasts, they did not have any doubt that was the only way to give new impulse to the Bristish brand”.
As to the company’s accounts for year ending December 2018, Sunseeker reports a £5.5m increase in profits, from £1.1m in 2017 to £6.6m in 2018. EBITDA was over £13m for 2018, more than doubling the £5.9m of EBITDA recorded in 2017. Overall group (Sunseeker International Holdings Ltd) revenue was £299.8m in 2018, with gross margins increasing by 39% (£9.8m) from £25.5m in 2017 to £35.3m in 2018.
Frabetti commented, “I’m very happy about our performance in 2018. With over 25 years of marine industry experience, my experience is tied to the product, I am very satisfied the company can grant the product new investemen to move the Sunseeker brand forward to even greater success. Aided by a £60million CAPEX investment in R&D, new products, innovation and technology over the next five years, this investment means our product development plan will see a doubling of the product range to 22 models over the next three years”.