Yacht maker Fairline goes into administration with 450 jobs at risk

Geoff Rowley and Alastair Massey of the restructuring firm FRP Advisory were appointed joint administrators to Fairline on Wednesday. They said they anticipated that there would be redundancies, but could not say how many.

A core team of several dozen staff will be retained to service existing orders and liaise with suppliers and boat dealers over the next few days, while the administrators assess the financial position of the business. They will also ascertain whether there is any interest in the company and its assets.

The Guardian are reporting that staff have been told to come back for an update at 11am next Tuesday. Fairline reportedly laid off 185 people after its takeover by Wessex Bristol in late September and moved out of its headquarters in Oundle, Northamptonshire, last Friday to reduce costs. The company has not paid its pension contributions for three months and has refused to talk to the local MP, Tom Pursglove, according to the trade union Unite.

A Unite regional officer, Mick Orpin, said: “The future at Fairline is cloaked in management silence and evasion. The workers who have been laid off have been abandoned – many have not been paid for 10 weeks. They have now fallen behind with mortgage and rent payments and are looking at a grim Christmas.

“The laid-off workers are now being forced to resign to claim redundancy payments, which the company seemingly has no intention of paying. This means a claim will now have to be made through the national insurance fund and it will take months for our members to receive any payment.”

It is thought that the administrators will assist all staff that are made redundant, including those laid off in recent weeks.

Fairline makes yachts up to almost 24 metres (78ft) in length across 14 different models, under the brands Targa and Squadron. Its customers tend to be company directors and professional workers. The company, founded in 1963, has two factories, in Oundle and in Corby, Northamptonshire, as well as a small testing site in Ipswich.

Wessex Bristol, a Somerset-based investment firm which also owns the British sports boat brand Fletcher Boats, bought the business from Jon Moulton’s Better Capital. The yacht maker has had a troubled few years with five different chief executives.