Written by: Keith Tully
Reviewed: Friday 4th December, 2015
Fairline Boats was sold as recently as two months ago by one private equity firm in Better Capital and acquired by another called Wessex Bristol, with estimates at the time suggesting the business was worth around £13.5 million.
Wessex Bristol said upon buying the business that it would be providing funding to drive its operations forward but the boat-making company has since been beset by serious financial difficulties.
Having been founded just over 50 years ago, Fairline has a well-established reputation in the field of luxury yacht building, with its vessels selling for anything from £200,000 to £1.5 million.
The company operated two sizable factory facilities in Northamptonshire, in Corby and in Oundle, and also had a smaller testing site in Ipswich, with all three affected by the move into administration.
Details of why Fairline has been forced into the position of having to enter administration is not yet clear but signs have emerged that suggest the business has been running out of cash for some months.
Representatives of the Unite workers’ union has criticised Fairline’s management and said that 185 employees of the company were made redundant in recent weeks.
“The future at Fairline is cloaked in management silence and evasion,” said Mike Orpin, a regional officer of Unite. “The workers who have been laid off have been abandoned - many have not been paid for 10 weeks and have been forced to resign to claim redundancy payments.”
A statement from administrators appointed to manage Fairline’s affairs in recent days said: “It is anticipated that there will be redundancies in the near term although the joint administrators will retain a core team of workers to help trade the business, service existing orders and liaise with customers, suppliers and boat dealers.”
What the future holds for Fairline remains unclear but administrators have said that they will be providing updates on the matter once an urgent review of the company’s accounts and financial position has been completed.