But impact of recession feared

The UK’s marine industry grew by an impressive 5% in 2007/08, breaking through the £3bn revenue barrier for the first time. The figure, contained in the British Marine Federation’s annual statistics released at the London International Boat Show, shows that the leisure marine industry continued to outperform the wider UK economy.

But the leisure marine industry is not immune to the increasing global economic turbulence and recent research with BMF members shows that, along with the rest of the economy, the industry is facing difficult times.

The headline findings of the annual statistics include:

The total turnover of the UK leisure & small commercial marine industry is £3.1 billion – an increase of 5% from 2006/7

International trade revenue is almost £1.1 billion – an uplift of 6% from 2006/7

* There are 35,200 employees across the industry in the UK, a small decrease of 1.4% from 2006/7

*There are around 4,300 businesses operating in the UK leisure & small commercial marine market 

However recent research shows that the industry is increasingly concerned about the impact of the recession. The BMF’s Autumn Trends report shows:

The rating of the value of the order book for the home market has decreased significantly compared to recent surveys: 15% rate their order book value as ‘more’ than six months ago and 63% rate it ‘fewer’.

The value of the order book for the export market is faring slightly better than the UK market although it is decreasing when compared to recent surveys:   20% rate this order book as ‘more’ than six months ago and 46% rate it ‘fewer’.

Turnover and meeting profit forecasts have decreased by around 10% from the last survey: turnover compared to this time a year ago is ‘higher’ for 30% and ‘lower’ for 41%; profit forecasts over the last six months have been exceeded for 9%, attained for 39% and fallen below for 52%

Business prospects for the next six months are perceived to be less optimistic than recent surveys: future prospects are perceived to be ‘excellent’ for 2% of respondents, ‘good’ for 14% and ‘OK’ for 46%, ‘poor’ for 30% and ‘very poor’ for 8%

The sector is dominated by small and medium size enterprises, with over 70% of the companies employing between one and five persons. 68 companies with over 50 employees account for over 44.5% of the total industry revenue. The British Marine Federation represents over 75% of the total UK marine turnover.