Press Release – Bayleys
Legendary Kiwi pleasure boat manufacture lures investors to a good catch
Full speed ahead – with a new focus on delivering Kiwi-built quality, the Fyran Boats building business has been placed on the market for sale.
One of New Zealand’s most successful home-grown marine industry companies has been placed on the market for sale.
Aluminium pleasure boat and dinghy manufacturer Fyran Boats,a Kiwi-owned company was originally formed by fishing buddies Trevor Fyfe and Graeme Ranson in 1969 when the two pals bought a welding machine and made their first dinghy out of a small shed in South Auckland.
The pair of sheet metal workers upscaled production – and boat size – in 1971 when their first V-hull craft was made and sold to the New Zealand market. Since then the company has continued growing and improving the on-water experience of thousands of fishermen, divers, water-skiers, and recreational users.
Fyran revolutionised the construction of small trailer runabouts. Until the company came along, most smaller alloy boats were riveted. By comparison, Fyran boats were fully welded from a pressed plate. Fyfe and Ransom sold the business in the 1977 but the brand name continued on.
Now, the current owners who have just invested significant resource into a complete redesign of most of the models have decided the business does not fit the groups strategic direction and have placed the business on the market for sale through the business broking arm of Bayleys.
Business broker Greg Scott said that along with Parkercraft, Fyran was a New Zealand boating ‘icon’ which had survived the 1980s and ‘90s influx of competing brands into the market, and the evolution of fiberglass craft as an alternative.
“Fyran boats were built on the premise that, top of all, they had to be functional – easy to clean, and could be operated without fear of chipping paint or denting,” Mr Scott said.
“Those fundamentals are still very much at the forefront of buyer demands today, although some degrees of user comfort have come into the equation.
“There is a definite trend towards larger hulled pleasure vessels – with six metres being the entry level boat for anyone serious about fishing now. It is this fishing fraternity which is responsible for the majority of boat demand in New Zealand now, closely followed those seeking smaller recreational craft capable of towing sea biscuits or wakeboarders and water skiers.
“In the five and six metre-plus hull market, Fyran is highly cost effective and has good margins. Focusing on this sector, the company now has four new models to market.”
Mr Scott said the company, by its own admission, had made some unfortunate business decisions over the past few years – with its bottom line suffering accordingly.
“The worst decision was abandoning the ‘Kiwi-made’ philosophy which underpinned the reputation of the Fyran brand almost 50 years ago, and sourcing cheaper and inferior parts, trailers, and engines out of China,” Mr Scott said.
“These products were of a lower quality and there were significant warranty claims, so resources within the Fyran factory were distracted on repair jobs ahead of building boats – not to mention the negative ‘word-of-mouth’ endorsements that ensued among the boating fraternity.
“The second big mistake was selling directly to the public and undercutting a loyal and extensive Fyran dealership network nationwide.
“Both these practices have been eliminated in favour of building a high quality local product working alongside and established dealer network.
“The company is returning to its proverbial grass roots – manufacturing wholesome Kiwi fishing and family boats built at a good price and to high quality standards.”
Under the control of production manager Nick Herd, the Fyran Boats range has been completely revamped to produce a better finish and more practical craft.
The Fyran 670 Gulf Cruiser model won the All-Round 6-7 metre class at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show held in Auckland recently. The craft was launched on the Rogers Boat Shop stand as part of the company’s recommitment to selling vessels through a dealership network. The 550 was also a finalist in the 5-6m category.
Mr Scott said Fyran’s Auckland factory was staffed up to produce between four to five boats a fortnight – depending on seasonal demand. The production facility has been set up to enable the fabrication of ‘runs’ rather than one-off builds – allowing for efficient assembly of new hulls.
The business currently employs 14 staff – ranging from welding and fabrication engineers, through to a production manager and administrative staff. Recognising the importance of bringing through future skilled workers, one of the shop floor staff is on a New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation apprenticeship programme.
The company’s manufacturing factory, storage facility, display warehouse, and head office are based in East Tamaki. The company is currently rationalising its nationwide dealership network to 12 regional locations – Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Taupo, Bay of Plenty, Napier, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Central Otago and Southland.
“The company intends to work closely with its dealer network and systems are now in place to ensure all sales enquiries received at the factory are directed to the relevant regional dealership. New marketing literature and sales support material is also being circulated into the dealership network,” Mr Scott said.