UK firm eyeing new market potential

Williams Performance Tenders, which is producing around 950 tenders a year from its UK facility, continues to capitalise on the general solid boat market recovery in Europe and the US, and the strategic introduction of new product.

As the firm edges closer to the symbolic 1,000 unit mark, annual turnover is forecast at £21m for calendar year 2018 – that represents 25% year-on-year growth for the past three years for the business that was founded by brothers John and Matthew Hornsby in an Oxfordshire shed back in the late 1990s.

Williams is re-launching its iconic Turbojet 285 and Turbojet 325 models at the Cannes show this week, as well as showcasing its brand new high-performance Sportjet 435.

The Turbojet 285 and Turbojet 325 have been major contributors to the UK firm’s success since their launch back in 2005 and have undergone a number of minor facelifts over the years. However, these new versions represent a complete redesign, with new upholstery, aesthetics and BRP Rotax ACE 903 engine.

It’s the relationship with BRP and its light, compact Rotax engine specifically that has been one driver in Williams’ success, enabling the firm to push the envelope of its offering beyond its core 50ft-80ft boat range. Weighing in at less than 200kg, Williams’ new MiniJet 280 is light and compact enough to appeal to owners of power and sail boats in the sub-45ft market. It’s also been expanding its product offering at the top end, with its bigger 565 and 625 Dieseljet tenders proving a hit with the superyacht sector.

OEM sales and marketing manager Ollie Taylor has been driving the charge with OEMs. “Williams never really saw a drop in turnover in the downturn from 2008-2010. Yes, volume dipped slightly, but we were building more customised product,” he told IBI at the Cannes show today. “When we first started it was a case of filling a niche that we knew wasn’t being covered by the competitors. Now it’s about working closely with the OEMs and the customers to understand exactly what the end user wants and designing product to answer that need.”

With a broadening of its customer base, growing turnover and a recent 20,000sq ft increase in capacity of its Oxfordshire facility (taking it to 80,000sq ft in total), the tender builder is now manoeuvring itself for more growth, which could possibly entail diversification beyond the tender segment. Watch this space.