The weakening of the pound has had its winners and losers; for any British citizen wishing to charter or purchase abroad this year it is, unfortunately, a loss. In stark contrast to the highs of 2.11 enjoyed in 2007, at the time of writing, the dollar is set at 1.31 against the pound and a similar waning is true of the pound against the euro. That being said, for British suppliers, the weakening of the pound has led to a period of almost unprecedented affordability for recent times.
To assume that superyacht owners and other ultra-high-net-worth individuals engaged in the superyacht market do not take such fluctuations into consideration, on account of them having such vast sums of disposable income, is to grossly misjudge the machinations of the wealthy.
For those individuals to whom the phrase ‘money is no object’ actually relates, you will find that money is frequently of objective importance to the decision making process. One needs only to look at the US new build market’s failure to capitalise on the nation’s ever growing population of billionaires to see the truth of this and, with the pound and the euro falling ever fouler of their US counterpart, it’s a trend that seems set to continue and, potentially, deepen.
“The weakening of the pound has helped a lot,” comments Allan Foot, managing director of the Southampton-based shipyard Solent Refit. “Almost immediately, interest [in a UK refit] definitely went up, especially with American clients. For any refit above £1 million it’s a no-brainer. We are at the stage now where, for the right project, we are giving them a sufficient discount or, effectively, paying for their fuel.”
However, the romantic notion of [more] affordable British products must be counterbalanced by the reality of importing raw materials from abroad and the increased cost of subcontracted European labour. Currency movements may well have created more affordable British products, but have they created more profitable British products?