The superyacht manufacturer Alloy Yachts has announced it is cutting up to 130 jobs after lower demand and a high exchange rate put pressure on the business.

The Henderson-based company is one of four remaining superyacht builders in New Zealand after the closure of Fitzroy Yachts in January.

Alloy Yachts managing director Tony Hambrook said the company had been struggling recently but would "absolutely" be able to come back, adding that it was not a question of if the market would pick up, but when.

"We're certainly not closing up at all but it is true that we will have a significant number of redundancies on Monday," Mr Hambrook said. "Worldwide, sales of superyachts are dramatically less than they were five years ago, way less than half, and coupled with the high New Zealand dollar it's a struggle."


In March the company reduced staff numbers from 330 to 225, with the latest round of cuts said to be as high as 130, according to staff.

Mr Hambrook said the job cuts were not made lightly, but it was not feasible to keep as many staff without more work.

He would also not rule out further redundancies.

"We don't have any work for [the staff] and we're not in a position to be able to carry a number of people when we can't keep them actively employed. So the prudent measure is to look after the company," he said.

New Zealand Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield said the move was not surprising, but he added that two superyacht companies - Yachting Developments and McMullen and Wing - had previously made cutbacks before being able to expand again.

"In both situations they wound right back and then received an order, and wound it back up again," Mr Busfield said. "It's a little bit of the market that we're in that companies, to stay in business, have to be reactive to the sales or lack of sales and reduce staff accordingly."

In the past three years Alloy Yachts has won accolades at the world superyacht awards, most recently with Mondango3 this year. The company also has more than 30 international design and innovation awards, and has launched about 60 superyachts in 20 years.

Mr Busfield noted that the yachting and boat building industry in New Zealand was still highly respected and had a reputation boosted by America's Cup campaigns and innovative designs. He said increasingly companies were diversifying from manufacturing into refitting and maintenance, something Mr Hambrook said he was considering.