Pendennis joins ICON Yachts in supporting Sunseeker’s superyacht ambitions

At the Monaco Yacht Show, where last year it announced its partnership with ICON Yachts in the Netherlands to build its new 161 flagship, Sunseeker International says it has progressed its superyacht ambitions further by setting up a dedicated Superyacht Division.

As part of this plan, it has added Falmouth-based Pendennis Shipyard into the mix to work on its smaller superyachts between 120ft-159ft. Under this partnership with Pendennis, which has been negotiated over recent months, the Falmouth yard will complete the Sunseeker 131/133 models which will be constructed with the hull and superstructure in Poole.

More significantly, Sunseeker will launch a new range of superyachts between 120ft-159ft that will be designed in Poole but built entirely by Pendennis. CEO Andrea Frabetti explained that this series would be based on three build platforms with three different types for each platform, making a total of six models. These will have both steel and aluminium hulls and aluminium superstructures and be designed by Sunseeker. Pendennis will allocate a dedicated area of its Falmouth facility for Sunseeker work.

This new arrangement will underpin Sunseeker’s expansion into the superyacht market and provide a complete line of smaller superyachts leading up to the new Sunseeker 161 model that will be built in the Netherlands by ICON Yachts with completion due in 2021. Sunseeker’s sales & marketing director, Sean Robertson, explained that negotiations were on-going with the first prospective buyer of a 161 and that once the contract was signed then the hull would be built.

In explaining the formation of the Sunseeker Superyacht Division, Frabetti confirmed that its Chinese majority shareholder, Dalian Wanda, has recently approved £60m of investment over the next five years to support the major product development plan. Asked if an IPO was planned, he said: “Anything is possible”.

Frabetti emphasised the strength of Sunseeker by referring to the company’s increase in profit and the more than doubling of the EBITDA through 2018. He also spoke of the new strategic committee made up of Frabetti, Sunseeker COO Michael Straughan, and CFO Michael McMillan. “This is a lean decision-making team which is necessary to keep pace with our competitors.

“With this support we will be spending £12m to £15m a year over the next three years,” Frabetti told IBI. This product development programme will see some 22 new models over the next three years. Sunseeker using its facilities in Poole and Portland will build all yachts in its model ranges up to 116ft. Above this to 159ft, Pendennis will share in the build and completion operations and over 160ft, will be handled by ICON Yachts in the Netherlands.

Frabetti told IBI: “All these will be Sunseeker boats and customisation will be offered for the interiors.”

He highlighted Sunseerker’s superyacht experience, indicating that 137 superyachts over 100ft have been since 2000. These comprised:

  • 105 Yacht: 2001-06, 10 sold
  • Predator 108: 2004-10, 12 sold
  • 37m Yacht: 2007-10, 8 sold
  • 34m Yacht: 2008-12, 15 sold
  • 30m Yacht: 2009-11, 19 sold
  • 40m Yacht: 2010-15, 15 sold
  • 115 Sport Yacht: 2012-15, 18 sold
  • 101 Sport Yacht: 2014-14, 2 sold
  • 155 Yacht: 2014-16, 2 sold
  • 131 Yacht: 2016-19, 15 sold
  • 116 Yacht: 2016-19, 19 sold

The presentation also included coverage of Sunseeker’s partnership with the MTU division of Rolls Royce to develop hybrid systems in the future.