Sweden's largest boat builder feels crunch

Sweden’s largest sailboat producer, Hallberg-Rassy has announced that it plans to lay off 25 of its 327 employees.

“The global crisis has an impact also on us. I would be very surprised if there were not more announcements of lay-offs from other boatbuilding companies,” managing director Magnus Rassy told local newspaper Bohuslaningen.

It’s been several years since Hallberg-Rassy last threatened to lay off workers. In March 2005, 70 employees were told they would have to leave the company, but all jobs were rescued in the end.

According to Bohuslaningen, Hallberg-Rassy’s total output has dropped by around 5-10 per cent. The majority of its workers are employed at the company’s main factory in Ellös, but the group also does hull moulding at a separate facility in Kungshamn. No jobs are threatened there.

“Twenty-five of 327 jobs means we’ve done quite well regarding how the overall situation seems to be,” Rassy comments. “We had good sales at the Open Yard in August, but we sell on many markets and all seem to be affected at the same time. Ordinarily some markets increase when others go down, but this time it’s tough all over.

He continues: “For us the change in sales didn’t come as a surprise. We’ve seen the changes coming since early 2008, but we’ve had a good market situation.”