The future of Sunseeker International is reported to be secure with its current parent company, Dalian Wanda, despite significant financial challenges facing the Chinese group. There has been growing speculation in the international yacht market that the future of Sunseeker might be in doubt because of the fiscal issues facing Dalian Wanda.
The backdrop to this is that the Chinese government has been placing increasing pressure recently on a small number of Chinese groups, including Dalian Wanda, who have made larger overseas investments often using debt-led funding. In total, Dalian Wanda has invested some US$22bn in purchasing international assets over the last five years. In the last nine months, half of these investments, valued at US$10.8bn, have been divested.
In response to this, Sunseeker told IBI: “In light of the recent press speculation surrounding Dalian Wanda divesting some of its overseas investments, we would like to state that our shareholder has made it clear that there is no intention that this will include Sunseeker International.
“Sunseeker is a profitable and well-funded business which has undergone a rapid and substantial turnaround,” Sunseeker,” the statement continues. “In just two years, the business has reversed significant losses to return to profit and is now Britain’s biggest boatbuilder. This was achieved whilst significantly investing in the long-term future of the business.
“There is no doubt that these strong business achievements make Sunseeker an attractive proposition for any potential future investor, and perhaps this has helped fuel this speculation, but at this time Dalian Wanda remains committed to the business and its future growth plans.”
In conclusion, the statement says: “Sunseeker has now entered a strong growth phase and has already kicked off 2018 with the launch of two new stunning, next generation boats – the Predator 50 and Predator 74. This, together with our recent announcement that we have agreed a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies that will see us return to our performance roots with the development of an exciting new product line of small fast boats, underlines a truly exciting and robust future for the company.”
Dalian Wanda owns over 94% of Sunseeker and it was acquired by the Chinese business in 2013 for over US$450m. In addition to the information in the statement, Sunseeker stated at the London show that it has plans to build larger yachts using different materials than currently suggesting steel and aluminium.
Phil Popham, Sunseeker CEO, previously confirmed to IBI that: “We will be building larger yachts within three years.”