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Sinking Demand Costs Superyacht Jobs

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A "dramatic" drop in demand for superyachts has forced Auckland boat-building company Alloy Yachts to shed 60 staff.

The Henderson-based company typically has about 250 staff but following the jobs cuts that number will be down to 135, Alloy Yachts managing director Tony Hambrook said.

Hambrook said the explanation for the job losses was simple: demand for new superyachts had dried up. 

"The big picture is world-wide sales for superyachts are dramatically less than five years ago, so we have had to reduce jobs."

Alloy Yachts, which mostly builds boats up to 50m long, has been around since 1986 and Hambrook said this was the toughest time it had ever been through.

"We went through the 1987 sharemarket debacle in the early days and it took about four to five years to recover, but this downturn has been deeper and taken longer to recover."

Hambrook said one of the challenges for boat builders was a fall in re-sale value for luxury yachts, which not only made second-hand yachts a cheap option but made buying a new yacht a bad investment.

"It's not like it used to be. Ten years ago yachts would sell within a year for more than the cost price."

Like many exporters, Alloy Yachts has also had to contend with an unfavourable exchange rate with the dollar hitting record highs against several currencies this year.

However, while the kiwi has fallen more than 12 per cent against the US dollar since July, Hambrook said most of Alloy's competitors were based in Europe where the prospect of quantitative easing is pushing down the value of the Euro.

The kiwi is trading at just over EU62c, only about 3 per cent off its peak.

"The European Central Bank has been quite clear in that they want to bring down the value of the Euro," Hambrook said.

*Original story: stuff.co.nz via Google News (search term: yacht)
*Image credit: Alloy Yachts
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