Trou­bled wa­ters as 85 more boat jobs to go

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - UK & World Update - By JOHN KRALEVICH john.kralevich@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Peter­bor­oughet

LUX­URY yacht builder Fairline Boats is set to axe an­other 85 jobs de­spite an­nounc­ing its trad­ing per­for­mance “has con­tin­ued to im­prove”.

The be­lea­guered Oun­dle-based busi­ness, which shed 75 staff fol­low­ing its ac­qui­si­tion by pri­vate eq­uity firm Bet­ter Cap­i­tal last July, said it had met its monthly fi­nan­cial tar­gets dur­ing this pe­riod.

How­ever, while sales are fore­cast to in­crease by 15 per cent in 2012, this im­prove­ment falls short of the orig­i­nal fore­cast as the com­pany still sees lit­tle growth in its Euro­pean mar­kets which it says is a trend that is likely to con­tinue.

To pro­tect its prof­itabil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity to in­vest in the com­pet­i­tive mar­ket, Fairline has started a month-long pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tion which may lead to 85 job losses, of which 65 are di­rect and 20 in­di­rect.

A spokes­woman re­fused to clar­ify what di­rect and in­di­rect job losses were.

She also re­fused to re­veal which Fairline site would bear the brunt of the losses but union lead­ers claim the losses will go at Oun­dle and Corby.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Alis­tair Schofield said: “This re­gret­table ac­tion will en­sure the busi­ness is sized ap­pro­pri­ately to de­liver the ex­pected sales vol­umes into 2013 and be­yond.”

In Jan­uary 2012, the com­pany said it had “turned the corner” in stop­ping losses and was con­fi­dent about fu­ture pro­duc­tion.

At the time it had a for­ward or­der book 10 per cent up on the same pe­riod the pre­vi­ous year and would ac­count for 50 per cent of pro­duc­tion in 2012.

The then in­terim chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Wil­liamson sounded a note of cau­tion say­ing there was still a long way to go.

At the time he said: “Fairline is now debt-free and we don’t an­tic­i­pate there be­ing any job losses in the short term. The gen­eral theme is one of good im­prove­ment on a trou­bled busi­ness.”

The decision was slammed by Corby and East Northamp­ton­shire MP Louise Men­sch who said she will seek meet­ings with se­nior man­age­ment and the unions.

She added: “I am very dis­turbed to hear this and I don’t like the ca­sual way it has been an­nounced in an email.

“If it was los­ing money one could un­der­stand it but they are mak­ing a profit. I think it’s a mis­take and I con­demn it.”

The pro­posed 85 job losses will cut staff down to about 700. At its height be­fore the fi­nan­cial crash in 2008 Fairline em­ployed about 1,500 peo­ple.

It is plan­ning ma­jor in­vest­ment in the com­ing years boost­ing pro­duc­tion from eight types of craft to 14.

It plans to launch two boats at the Southamp­ton Boat Show 2012 in Septem­ber and a 45ft boat in 2013.

WIVES and part­ners of vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers were wined and dined at an event in Peter­bor­ough.

Eighty-five peo­ple at­tended the Peter­bor­ough Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade Ladies’ Night Din­ner at the Bull Ho­tel in Peter­bor­ough.

Among the guests in­vited to the din­ner on April 20 were the Mayor of Peter­bor­ough cllr Paula Thacker and Lit­tle­hey prison gov­er­nor David Tay­lor.

The brigade’s Chief Of­fi­cer Tony De Mat­teis said the din­ner has been held an­nu­ally for more than 30 years and it is their way of thank­ing their wives and part­ners for their sup­port.

He said: “It is to thank them for putting up with us when the alert goes off and we have to run off to an­swer the call and leave them stranded in shops and restau­rants.” top ta­ble: David Tay­lor, Mandy Tay­lor, Sue Tolomeo, the Mayor’s Con­sort Cllr Ray Dobbs, Mayor Cllr Paula Thacker,matthew Ni­cholls, Chief Of­fi­cer Tony De Mat­teis, Sue De Mat­teis, Ag­gie Cafano, Aure­lio Pinto, Ros­sana Pinto, So­nia Ni­cholls and Jean Cafano. (METP-20-04-12PF302) Picture: PAUL FRANKS.

CUTS: A Fairline boat at the London Boat Show

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