Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 19:32 UK

Super-yacht firm creates 800 jobs

Picture by Marko Modic. The Dragon yacht
The sumptuous salon inside the yacht called the Dragon

At least 800 jobs will be created when a US super-yacht builder opens its UK base in Hampshire, the South East England Development Agency said.

Palmer Johnson will build a range of bespoke vessels 100m (329ft) in length in Hythe and Woolston in Southampton.

The deal was secured by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

It said Southampton beat off stiff competition from Dubai, France and Turkey. More jobs will be created via supply chains and local partnerships.

We are keen to tap into the marine skills base of the region in terms of training programmes with local colleges and partnerships with local suppliers
Director Roland Staub
Palmer Johnson

A spokeswoman for SEEDA said: "The new Woolston Riverside Shipyard will open in 2009, but in the meantime Palmer Johnson will also be taking up space at Hythe Marine Park to build the prototype vessels.

"The range of super sport yachts will be the largest leisure craft in production in the region."

SEEDA Chairman, Jim Brathwaite said: "Palmer Johnson is a strong and established global brand and we are pleased to have secured them for the region.

"Palmer Johnson will be an excellent addition further strengthening the region's global reputation for excellence in the marine sector.

Director Roland Staub, of Palmer Johnson, said: "We have developed a sound and successful business model at our US operation and our UK expansion allows us to increase both capacity and our model range to meet the demand for our products.

'Highly skilled workforce'

"We are also keen to tap into the marine skills base of the region in terms of training programmes with local colleges and partnerships with local suppliers and sub - contractors. "

Southampton was chosen because of its "highly skilled workforce", the agency added.

Palmer Johnson Yachts, founded in 1918 as Johnson and Gmack, began by building and repairing boats for the Great Lakes commercial fishing fleet.

This continued until 1928, when Palmer Johnson, the founder's son, built the firm's first wooden yacht.

In 1956 the company was officially named Palmer Johnson Boats, Inc.




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