Viking Yachts cuts 70 jobs, cites slowing production

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Viking Yachts has eliminated around 70 positions and placed another 75 employees on furlough for two to six weeks, director of communications Peter Frederiksen told Soundings Trade Only.

Frederiksen said about 20 administrative posts were eliminated, along with about 50 production jobs. The layoffs have been ongoing at the New Gretna, N.J., boatbuilder.

“We’ve had to cut back because we’re just not in a growth market anymore,” he said, adding that the company still employs nearly 1,400 people.

“Our backlog is down a little bit, but over the last two months we did sell some 50s and some 54s, and [Monday] is the first time since I think mid-July when the oil prices actually went down to their pre-July levels,” Frederiksen said. “There are little nuggets of sunshine, so hopefully this is a sign of things to change.”

The company’s international sales, he noted, have increased from about 5 percent of sales in 2005 to more than 30 percent in 2008.

The furloughs were done to accommodate the builder as it moves the production of four boat lines around, including moving two lines into a new building. Frederiksen said he expects the furloughed workers to be back on the job after the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which runs Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

Frederiksen said the company is hopeful it will not need additional layoffs.

“Right now we seem to be in a holding pattern, and we hope we can hang on to this for a while,” he said. “We’re hoping this gets us through.”

— Beth Rosenberg
b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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