Robert Braithwaite Back at the Helm of Sunseeker 

Blush_0085In an interview for the British newspaper The Times Robert Braithwaite OBE, the 71-year-old founder of the British boat builder Sunseeker, confirmed he was back as the Group CEO following the departure of Stewart McIntyre in July.

In July 2012 we reported that he was to take on lighter duties at the firm.

Braitwaite told the newspaper of how the company came to be owned by the Chinese, Dalian Wanda Group

He recalled how the banks took control in 2009 and the subsequent refinancing by the Irish group FL Partners who paid a reported £25m for control of the company.

A year ago Wanda paid FL Partners £300m for its 92% shareholding, leaving Braithwaite the owner of the remaining 8%.  “They are the ones pulling the strings with their massive capital resources,” he told the newspaper.

Braithwaite told the newspaper, “When Wanda came in they wanted advice from me on how to make the business strong for the next 50 years. They didn’t know me at all, but I took the chairman, Wang Jianlin, out on the water. They wanted my knowledge of the business. We have to get to know each other, but they have to learn a lot about manufacturing. And they are learning this is a very personal business, in which I am the person with the contacts. I have to improve sales and I travel the world to do that. This is a business that needs money, but it is a business that needs to be kept British. It sells because it is British.”

The company recently announced that it would build a new design on spec.  The168 Sport Yacht will be the largest ever built by the company at their factories in Poole.

The company is predicting a turnover of £280m this year, down from £350m before the financial crisis and down on the £288.8m reported for 2012.