Wherever You Will Go The Calling
19 June 2013, 18:10
A Chinese firm has revealed a £1 billion investment in the UK after snapping up a Poole-based yacht manufacturer and unveiling plans for a luxury five-star hotel.
Dalian Wanda will take a 92% stake in Sunseeker, whose boats have featured in James Bond films, in a deal worth £320 million.
The commercial property investor, which holds retail and leisure assets worth £36 billion, has also reached agreement on the £700 million development of a riverside hotel at the Nine Elms regeneration site in central London. It claims it will be the first luxury hotel to be opened by a Chinese firm overseas.
Beijing-based Wanda recently stepped up its expansion with the acquisition of US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for around £2 billion.
The company said Sunseeker will maintain its existing production bases and its current workforce, with founder Robert Braithwaite set to continue his involvement. Management will hold the remaining 8% stake in the business.
Its managing director Stewart McIntyre said Wanda's support will enable the yacht maker to unlock the "enormous potential'' of the Chinese market.
The investment company of Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter was the largest shareholder in Portofino Yacht Investments, which controlled Sunseeker.
"Sunseeker already exports nearly 100% of its yachts to many countries round the world.
"Wanda will be a wonderful partner, particularly in helping it unlock the substantial potential inherent in the developing Chinese boating market.''
The London project will have a construction size of 105,000 square metres, around 20,000 of which will be used for the Wanda hotel, which will have 160 rooms.
Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin said:
"Through the international development of Wanda hotels, we are confident that we will be the leader in bringing branded Chinese luxury hotels to the global market, where they have long been absent.''