A Welsh marine equipment manufacturer is on track to open a dedicated base in the U.S. with support from the Welsh Government. Makefast Group designs and manufactures equipment for the marine and safety industries, as well as systems for super yachts and luxury boats including retractable sunroofs, awning units, and bathing platforms.
The company is set to open its first American headquarters in Preston, Md. later this year. The company also plans on opening its own manufacturing plant in the U.S.
International sales currently account for 67% of Makefast’s trade – equating to £1.2m YOY growth - with the company exporting to over thirty countries from its factory in Mid Wales, including Italy, France, Brazil, Taiwan, and the U.S.
Chris Brown, Finance Director at Makefast UK, said: “Our presence in the USA has continued to grow during the pandemic, when boat sales increased as more people looked for solace from lockdowns on the water and spent less time traveling abroad. Demand for our products has surged and we saw the opportunity to increase our sales in the USA by opening an office there. We don’t see demand slowing down anytime soon and our new base will enable us to keep up with this pace and meet the growing order books of American boat builders.”
Chris added: “The USA has a large-scale marine industry and with the benefit of research support, we have been able to determine the best route into the market. Our products have been adapted to meet the needs of American customers – specifically the day boat clientele who we had established would be a lucrative market. As we further developed the shade and other marine systems for day boats, we successfully secured a contract with Pursuit Boats, a major luxury American yacht and boat manufacturer, and US-based IAG Yachts, the name behind the 140ft luxury super yacht, ‘King Baby’, which installed a Makefast sunroof system. The luxury vessel can be chartered for $195k per week in the Bahamas. Recent success has resulted in new business with other American manufacturers such as Bertram Yachts and Boston Boatworks.”