REDUNDANCIES: The recent announcement by Sunseeker of 300 non-core redundancies came as something of a shock, writes Matt Johnson.
In an environment where global economic recovery, albeit somewhat patchy, and a general air of optimism in the international leisure marine market implies that the days of large scale redundancies were behind us, this was not expected.
However in an interview with Boating Business group finance director Sunny Thakrar made it clear that a pick up in demand has not necessarily delivered an easier business environment.
A main driver behind the need to streamline the company is the fact that, while new models are seeing strong sales, the legacy designs are finding the going much tougher.
That coupled with increasing competition demands that Sunseeker brings new boats to the market faster than before in order to maximise their lifetimes.
The new corporate structure is therefore intended to deliver a streamlined business that is capable of innovating and responding to emerging trends much more rapidly than before.
In a move that may seem counterintuitive, given recent trends, Sunseeker will also be increasing its focus on its smaller, 40 to 80 feet models in order to win more business from individuals who are in the early stages of their boat owning careers.
With repeat business vital for Sunseeker, the emphasis is being recalibrated towards nurturing the Sunseeker ‘family’ to create a more sustainable business over the long term.
It may also be that superyacht owners have turned out to be fewer in numbers and, with a few notable exceptions, less loyal that had been hoped for.
For Sunseeker’s suppliers, the official message is that there is nothing to worry about. Mr Thakrar referred to the company being ‘in a good place, with a strong shareholder who understands the business and provides financial stability’.
Production will remain firmly rooted in the UK with the ‘Made in Britain’ tag a big part of the brand’s appeal.
This is good news for those Sunseeker employees that get to keep their jobs, but not for the 300 unfortunates that won’t.
For them the axe will fall swiftly. All redundancy notices will be sent out by the end of the year.