Princess Yachts today announced that it plans to lay off 350 workers at its UK headquarters in Plymouth as part of a large-scale restructuring and investment programme. The job losses will affect the company’s back office, development and production divisions as it strives to improve productivity in the face of “unprecedented challenges”.
Princess has five sites in Plymouth, making it one of the largest employers in the region with a workforce of more 2,000. “Like all successful companies, we need to be able to adapt and adjust the constitution of our workforce periodically,” says Princess MD Chris Gates in a statement. “Today’s announcement of job losses, although not undertaken lightly, is designed to maintain the business in the best possible shape for the next phase in its evolution.”
Princess says it is now entering 2016 with “assurance and optimism”, with six new models across the M Class, S Class, V Class and Flybridge yacht ranges taking the company into new markets and sectors. The company also claims to have a strong order book following good performances at the Cannes, Southampton and Ft Lauderdale boat shows.
According to a Princess statement, high staff levels were maintained throughout the crisis, as the company evolved its infrastructure across key sites and invested in the development of new models. With the launch of an enhanced range this year, the workforce can now be scaled back without loss of capacity.
Princess says it continues to outperform the industry despite unfavourable euro/sterling exchange rates, recessionary pressures in target markets, and hurricane-force storms in 2014 that caused hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage across Britain’s southwest. The company reported a modest loss of just £11.3m on turnover of £239.5m in 2014, compared to a profit of £4.8m in 2013.
Today’s news comes just weeks after UK powerboat builder Fairline called in the administrators, putting 450 jobs at risk.