Full steam ahead for new superyacht facility
Princess Yachts International has won financial backing from the government's Regional Growth Fund for a major investment in Plymouth's Devonport dockyard. Plans to create a world leading boat building facility at the company's South Yard site were approved by City Council last year, following which the company sought a government contribution to help secure approval for this major investment from its French parent company.
The new production site will be used to build Princess M Class yachts, a range of 100-foot plus vessels developed to meet the growing global demand for craft of this size. The new facility is planned to be operational by early 2013 and will create or secure over 1,000 jobs both directly and indirectly in the wider Plymouth economy.
Princess Yachts exports 90 per cent 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.
Last month Princess Yachts completed the purchase from Defence Estates of a freehold interest in the 18-acre South Yard site within the historic Devonport Naval Base.
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 recognises 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 recognise the significant contribution we bring to the City of Plymouth as a strong local employer."
Vivien Pengelly, Leader of Plymouth City Council, said:
"We are delighted that Princess Yachts has won support from the Regional Growth Fund. The company is one of the biggest employers in Plymouth and is a local success story. Their ambitious plans will kick start the regeneration of South Yard within Devonport dockyard and create a focus for excellence in marine engineering."
Princess entered the superyacht market this year with the launch to wide acclaim of the Princess 32M long range cruising yacht at the London Boat Show in January 2011. The company is already working on the new flagship Princess 40M, a 130-foot tri-deck yacht to be launched in 2012 and with a strong forward order book the company is confident of further growth in this market.