Luxury boat builder Princess Yachts has made a £7.9million profit – after a record-breaking year in which its order book hit £750million. It is a huge turnaround for the Plymouth-based firm, which in 2017 announced a £7million loss.
But after a stellar year, in which it sold a jaw-dropping £30million worth of boats in just one week, the firm has seen turnover jump 26.6 per cent to £274.4million. That represents the firm’s highest sales figure in its 53-year history.
Financial results for the 12 months to December 31, 2017, show an operating profit before exceptionals of £7.9million, representing a turnaround of £15 million on its 2016 results. It continues a trend of strong year-on-year growth for the L Catterton-owned luxury yacht builder.
Princess’ recent performance at the industry’s three biggest global sales events – the Cannes, Fort Lauderdale and Düsseldorf boat shows – saw the company power ahead across its entire fleet. Princess’ advance order book now totals in excess £750million, 20 per cent higher than the previous year.
Princess’ bosses said the firm is poised for an even more successful year in 2018, which began with the launch of the V50, V65 and S78 models and will see an additional six launches by year-end, including the revolutionary carbon fibre R35 sports boat which will feature an innovative Active Foil System.
This launch program is underpinned by a stronger-than-ever presence at the world’s leading boat shows, intensified marketing programs, and a significant investment in production and quality at its Plymouth headquarters, the firm stressed.
To support this growth, Stonehouse-headquartered Princess has increased its workforce by more than 500 people in the past year.
The manufacturer triumphed at the world-famous Düsseldorf boat show, in Germany, where it sold 24 yachts, adding £30million to its order book in January 2018.
The sum meant it earned more than 10 per cent of its usual annual turnover within just one week.
It was the firm’s best performance at Boot Düsseldorf, the world’s largest boat show, and followed strong performances at the Cannes Yachting Festival and Southampton Boat, in autumn 2017, and the London Boat Show, also in January.
It is a strong about face for the firm which as recently as 2015 posted an operating loss, before exceptional costs, of £18.1million on turnover of £201.2million. But demand for the company’s yachts was boosted by the weak pound sterling following the UK’s decision to Brexit from the European Union in 2016.
Antony Sheriff, executive chairman of Princess Yachts, said: “This has been a landmark year in the history of Princess. “We have a clear vision to be the highest quality, most innovative and best luxury yacht producer in the world and it is gratifying to our highly skilled and dedicated 2,700-strong team that the market has responded in tune with our efforts.
“With our exciting launch plan this year of unique and exceptional yachts, coupled with our unprecedented $1billion (£750,000) order book which stretches well into 2019, 2018 is set to be another record year in sales and profits for Princess Yachts.”
Princess has embarked on a £100million, five-year investment program. This is to support ambitious product launch and business development strategies.
The firm completes more than 80 per cent of the build process for its boats in Plymouth, a statistic it says is “unheard of in the UK marine industry”.
At the start of January 2018, Princess transferred its banking relationship to a multi-year facility with HSBC. Graham Maxa, chief financial officer of Princess Yachts, said: “The decision to move to HSBC complements the company’s existing business partners and provides strong support to the growth of Princess’ aggressive development plans.
“This strength, together with HSBC’s global reach, will support growth internationally and keep the company on a solid positive financial trajectory for the rest of 2018 and beyond.”