With 91% of its 2018 order slots already filled, and with orders for some models extending into Q3 2019, the UK’s largest yacht-builder, Sunseeker International, has started a new year in a better position than ever.

“With the final figures for 2017 still to come in, we will see a rise in volume of orders and revenues of more than 15%,” Phil Popham, CEO of Sunseeker, told the company’s boot Düsseldorf press briefing. “Sunseeker is trading profitable and over the last three years we have seen revenues grow by 50%, volume of orders by 33%, and our workforce by 25% to 2,500. In addition, another 7,500 are supported in our supply chain.”

Popham indicated that Sunseeker was working through its current five-year plan which was finalised last September with the Dalian Wanda management between the Cannes and Monaco shows. He pointed out that in the first three years of that, 12 new models will be launched. The first two of those are being shown at Düsseldorf, namely the Predator 50 and the Predator 74.

The two Predator models are sports yachts that offer open plan layouts, different interior layouts and, as always with Sunseeker, the ability to customise the interior. The Predator is currently the largest in the range but Simon Clare, marketing director, told IBI: “We may go larger. We have taken 18 deposits for the Predator 50 and 12 or more for the Predator 74, all off renders.”

At the London Boat Show earlier this month, Sunseeker announced that it would be developing smaller craft through having signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. It also stated that it would be building larger yachts “in different materials” but little detail was made available.

The latter is seen as a reference that Sunseeker will start building yachts in steel and aluminium. Popham told IBI in Düsseldorf: “We will definitely go larger within three years.”

This will have to include new build facilities but no information has been given about these at this stage. In the past Sunseeker has talked of possibly building in the Netherlands.

As to the new link with Red Bull, Popham told IBI at the London show that a new engineering team formed by both companies would start work on developing a family of new products. Popham was unable to say in London how many models would make up that family or where they would be built.

Popham commented after the signing of the MOU that “Red Bull Advanced Technologies is a natural partner for us and I am looking forward to working with them.”

Christian Horner, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team, said: “This is an exciting announcement for Red Bull Advanced Technologies and we are delighted to be working with Sunseeker.

In other news, Dalian Wanda, Sunseeker’s 94.1% majority shareholder, is developing a marina in Qingdao, the sailing centre of China. Popham told IBI: “We are involved in that project and will be helping with design of the yacht club there.”

Going back, Dalian Wanda had plans to build three marinas throughout China and it was going to buy 10 Sunseekers to use for charter operations. While that did not happen, Dalian Wanda bought the company instead.

In terms of the Sunseeker dealer network which is one of the biggest of any yacht builder, Popham told IBI in London: “We have seen excellent appointments in the Americas and Europe last year and Middle and Far East continues to expand and will remain a focus for us during 2018.”

As to the Dubai show being held later next month, Sunseeker will be exhibiting the 95 Yacht, 76 Yacht, Manhattan 66 and Manhattan 52 there.