Princess Yachts can now start spending a grant from the UK government given nearly two years ago to finish the construction sheds for its M Class of superyachts.
The news came last week when Vince Cable, the UK secretary of state for business, innovation, and skills, visited Princess Yachts. Cable, who was accompanied by Chris Gates, Princess Yachts’ managing director, and Ian Duffin, Princess Yachts’ finance director, officially noted that the shipyard could start using the £4.6 million awarded from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) in October 2011.
The company said the investment would secure over 400 jobs and create hundreds more and ensure that the vital skill bases in marine engineering would not be harmed by the moving of production overseas. “The local favorite was Plymouth, but it was up against competitive overseas alternatives,” the BBC quotes Gates as saying. “The favorite alternative was to buy a yard in Germany.”
The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) aims to support projects which will create economic growth and employment.
The 18 acre South Yard production site (situated in what was Devonport Naval Base)was purchased from the MoD and received planning permission last year, will be used to meet the growing demand for Princess M Class yachts of 100ft+ (30m) in length.
Managing Director Chris Gates said: “I am delighted that the government has decided to back our investment in a new production facility to meet the global demand for larger vessels.” The market at this size has grown threefold in the last decade and other manufacturers such as Oceanco have pressed ahead with expansion plans. Oceanco are moving forward plans for a 140m yacht-building facility in direct response to market demands.
The Princess M Class, featuring vessels from 100 feet up, has thus far been constructed in temporary sheds and seen the launch of two models, the Princess 32M and Princess 40M.
Launched in January 2011, the debut M Class craft, the Princess 32M (example is motor yacht Antheya II), has gone on to win multiple awards and in 2012 Princess launched their flagship Princess 40M (examples is superyacht Imperial Princess), a 130-foot tri-deck yacht, which has already received an award for ‘Best Production Motor Yacht’ at the Asia Boating Awards and has received multiple awards nominations worldwide, the results of which will be announced in the coming months.
Princess Yachts exports 90% of its production and has built a global reputation for quality and craftsmanship. It is already Plymouth’s second largest private sector employer, with just under 2,000 employees, and supports several hundred supply chain jobs.
Vivien Pengelly, leader of the city council, said the company was a “local success story” and the “ambitious plans” would “create a focus for excellence in marine engineering”.
Chris Gates, Managing Director of Princess Yachts, said:
“I am delighted that the Government has decided to back our investment in a new production facility to meet the global demand for larger vessels. This recognizes the fantastic work being achieved by our company as it competes on a global stage from its Plymouth base. We are extremely grateful for the local support given to us during the application process, including our local MP’s, the leaders of the Council and the numerous business and community leaders, all of whom clearly recognize the significant contribution we bring to the City of Plymouth as a strong local employer.