New boat proves an instant success for Viking Cruisers

Viking Cruisers builds boats and pleasure cruisers at its premises in Dunmow, Essex. It uses existing hull models and develops and manufactures new ones, including a range designed for narrow rivers and canals.

The growing company, which exports to Europe via Germany, as well as selling its products in the UK, has banked with Lloyds Bank since it was set up in 1970.

What they needed

Viking Cruisers identified a gap in the market for a sporty-looking boat that could go anywhere. “A lot of boats that look really sporty are so big and high they can’t get under any bridges, so they’re not a lot of good for anything except going to sea,” explained Vinny Clayden, Director of Viking Cruisers.

The company wanted to make something with a sporty look, but a classic river boat interior. Having looked at the market research, they were confident it would sell well. But to make it, they needed to first make a new mould, which involves a considerable up-front cost.

Like many small manufacturing businesses, one of the main challenges Viking Cruisers faced was cash flow. They wanted to build a prototype to secure other sales of their new design, but in order to build this prototype they needed access to funding. That’s why they turned to Lloyds Bank.

“Suppliers don’t give you unlimited credit – if you want to get a competitive price you have to buy your materials as you go along, and then you can make more profit at the end of it. That’s where funding comes in.”

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Watch Vinny Clayden, Director of Viking Cruisers talk about how he's developing his business.

How Lloyds Bank helped

 

The Business Relationship Team worked with Viking Cruisers to provide £50,000 of lending towards the development of their new boat, a Viking 300.

“Cash flow can be a considerable challenge for small businesses, so we were pleased to support Viking Cruisers to purchase the materials to develop their new model.” Thea Nattrass, Local Business Manager.

“Supporting our customers with their ambitions is a key priority and part of our Helping Britain Prosper plan, to commit £6 billion of lending to businesses by 2020.”

The results

Viking Cruisers showcased the cruiser at the Southampton Boat Show, where they took three orders, having already sold the prototype Lloyds Bank provided funding for. This initial success bodes well for the future.

The future

The company is always adding to its range and incorporating new features into its products. “We try and launch new products so that we’re adding to our range, without taking anything away,” said Vinny.

“Some of our first models still sell well, but they’d all sell much better if we could have them looking sportier, like this new model. In due course I’m sure we’ll be getting back in touch with Lloyds Bank around that.”


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