Swedish boatbuilder blames poor sales and financial crisis

Swedish boatbuilder Najad has been declared bankrupt, blaming weak sales, long-term decline in the boat industry and the global financial situation.

Mikael Gustavsson, managing director and group chief executive, said it was a ‘very difficult and sad day for everyone at Najadvarvet AB, including employees, customers, suppliers and partners.’

More than 2,000 yachts have been launched under the Najad and Maxi brand names in the company’s 40-year history. For more than 35 years the business was successfully run by founder Berndt Arvidsson, who sold the company in 2006 to a Dutch owner, Alfred van Wincoop.

In 2009 the company was saved from bankruptcy by Animatrix Capital LLP but despite a substantial cash injection and increased efficiency, boat sales were still lower than hoped and orders and prospects for the rest of 2011 were very weak. Mr Gustavsson said they were powerless to prevent bankruptcy happening this time around.

He added: ‘We have turned every stone in our attempts to avoid this situation. Today, our last efforts have failed. The parent company is insolvent and therefore has to file for bankruptcy.’

The board made the decision at the time of the year when all orders have been delivered to customers so that ‘a minimal number’ will suffer bankruptcy.

Suppliers and employees should also be minimally affected, as supplier debts are at a year-low and the company most skilled employees have been paid for July with August’s salary also guaranteed.

When YM spoke to Mike Jennings, UK agent for Najad and Maxi for the last 12 years, he was still reeling from the shock news. ‘It’s a tragedy,’ he said. The yachts are very, very good, but with the current exchange rate with the Swedish Krona things were getting very tight.’

Mr Jennings could not comment on whether Najad and Maxi would have a presence at Southampton Boat Show.

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