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Luxury yacht builder Grand Banks anchors US presence with Florida yard purchase

MAINBOARD-LISTED Grand Banks Yachts is set to acquire a Florida yard and turn it into its official US headquarters, in a bid to consolidate its presence in the world's biggest boat market.

The manufacturer of luxury motor yachts announced it will fully acquire Stuart Yard Corporation in Florida for US$3.2 million and turn it into its US head office, helping to consolidate its fragmented presence in Florida and provide an "important footprint" for the company aside from its Malaysia and Australia offices.

"The opening of our US headquarters is an important milestone in our global growth and reinforces our status as a leading yacht brand," said Grand Banks' chief executive Mark Jonathon Richards.

"Florida is also the biggest boat market in the world, and the epicentre of our US operations, making it a logical location from which to serve and grow our client base in the region," Mr Richards added.

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Grand Banks will pay the yardowners some US$1 million upfront in cash, with the remaining US$2.2 million paid out over six years at a 4 per cent interest rate per annum.

The company's acquisition will replace existing rental facilities and berths, in addition to acting as a private dock and exhibition venue for its boats in the US.

The new yard is located in a hurricane-safe zone in Martin County, Florida, some 130 kilometres from Lauderdale, accessible from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and is within driving distance of interstate highways, resorts and other marinas.

The property has seven berths and 12,000 square feet of waterfront offices, shops and maintenance facilities, and houses commissioning and repair equipment like a 50-tonne travel lift, an enclosed floating workshop, deepwater docks and concrete haul-out area.

Grand Banks has appointed Samuel Henry Compton as managing director of Grand Banks America.

"We are excited about our renewed prospects in the US. The opening of Grand Banks' new regional headquarters will not only boost the sales and popularity of our two iconic boat brands in the US but also enable us to forge closer relationships with new and existing customers," Mr Compton said.