Published: Thursday, 02 May 2013
Mike Fulton

Sealine International, the UK-based luxury yacht builder owned by US private equity outfit Oxford Investment Group, has called in administrators. 

Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery said it was helping the 234 of 300 staff who have lost their jobs to make claims against the government redundancy fund.

In business since 1972, Sealine was bought by US leisure group Brunswick in 2001 and then sold on to Oxford Investment in 2011.

Baker Tilly is looking for a buyer for all or parts of the company to maximise recoveries for the company's creditors, which includes the sale of plant and recovery of monies owed to the business.

Sealine made a £4 million pre-tax loss on a turnover of about £33 million in 2011, according to available accounts, and had reportedly been losing money for a number of years.

Yacht manufacturers have had a tough recession. Better Capital took Fairline Group off the venture capital company 3i in 2011 after it fell behind with its debt repayments. This deal followed the disastrous outcome for Candover, which lost its stake in the world's largest luxury yachtmaker Feretti in 2009 after the company breached its covenants. Eventually, China’s Shandong Heavy Industry Group took the business off its creditors for €178m. 

Despite strong Asian demand for British-built boats, business leaders have criticised the bureaucracy and cost of obtaining UK travel visas. This is putting off some potential buyers and hurting order books. By comparison, Europe's Schengen agreement means visitors can access the whole of the continent for less than the cost of a single entry to the UK.