Dorset

300 jobs at risk at Sunseeker luxury yacht maker

Sunseeker display at Southampton International Boat Show Image copyright PA
Image caption Sunseeker produces a range of 40ft-155ft motor yachts

Luxury yacht maker Sunseeker International has announced it could shed up to 300 jobs.

Sunseeker International Limited, based in Poole, Dorset, said it had carried out a "strategic review aimed at increasing efficiency".

In 2013, Chinese property developer Dalian Wanda Group paid £320m for almost 92% of the company, famous for providing yachts for James Bond movies.

The yacht maker insisted it was "100% committed" to continuing UK production.

It said its strategic review was based on changes in "customer demand and the industry as a whole".

'Quite a blow'

Sunny Thakrar, group executive director, said: "As part of these plans we are looking to rebalance the workforce by removing non-core activities as well as where we see crossover and duplication.

"Around 300 roles could potentially be affected as part of the review and we shall go through a formal consultation process.

"In order to minimise the impact on individuals, the company will provide support during this period.

"Our skilled craftsmen on the shop floor will remain key to the business and this review is likely to have minimal impact on our direct boatbuilding activities."

Image caption Sunseeker insisted it would not be closing any of its operating sites

Sunseeker International produces a range of 40ft-155ft (12m-47m) luxury motor yachts, employing 2,100 people at seven sites in Dorset.

Most of the job losses would be in management and administration roles, the BBC understands.

Following the takeover in June 2013 Sunseeker International insisted there would be no job losses at its Poole manufacturing base and the company would remain British.

Elaine Atkinson, leader of Borough of Poole, said: "We are disappointed to hear that Sunseeker in Poole are likely to make a number of their staff redundant.

"We, along with other government agencies such as JobCentre Plus will be working with Sunseeker to help all of those that may be affected."

Chair of Dorset Chamber of Commerce Ian Girling said the announcement came as a "big surprise".

"It's quite a blow for the local economy. The marketplace is very competitive - it seems Sunseeker are trying to reduce costs and administration to look to the future."

Conservative Poole MP Robert Syms said he hoped the announcement was not the start of further redundancies.

"We only have to look at the world to realise there are still many economic challenges ahead.

"Sunseeker sell very expensive yachts and if confidence takes a knock then that's bound to have an effect on the luxury yachts market," he said.

Roger Luffman of the Bournemouth branch of the Labour Party said: "These are real jobs, in the real economy for real people.

"If these jobs go, they'll be replaced by jobs from the Tory 'economic miracle' - jobs with zero-hour contracts.

"Every job that goes takes down five others in Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch, which is really serious for the local economy."

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