Capercaillie Cruisers Ltd Press Release – No Embargo
Capercaillie Cruisers has been providing narrowboat holidays on the Lowland Canals since 2003, following the re-opening of the canals and the development of the Falkirk Wheel.
The present owners, Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd and Tim Ford, took over the business in April 2009. The holiday boat fleet consists of Capercaillie owned boats and a franchise operation with ABC, Black Prince and Marine Cruises companies.
Over the last 8 seasons the company has developed and grown the business from 16 to 21 boats, has become recognised as a provider of excellent customer service and increased profitability.
Recent negotiation of fees between Scottish Canals (SC) and Capercaillie Cruisers Ltd (CCL) to allow CCL to operate on the Lowland Canals has led the CCL Board to re-evaluate the company’s long-term sustainability. Factors which informed the Board’s thinking were:
•the scale of the difference between current and proposed future charges meant that further negotiation could not lead to a satisfactory outcome;
•proposed changes to leasing arrangements would open up potential liabilities in the future well beyond CCL’s resources;
•Scottish Canals placed restrictions on the boat numbers at the Falkirk Wheel and this has removed any confidence about growth and long-term sustainability;
•CCL’s current viability was heavily dependent on time subsidies from both shareholders, which for a range of reasons would not be available indefinitely;
•the relationship between CCL and Scottish Canals has effectively broken down.
In view of this, the CCL Board asked the Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd Board, as the majority shareholder and as a Scottish charity, to consider these revised terms and issues as a matter of urgency.
The conclusion of both Boards is the same, namely that CCL does not have a long-term trading future.
The Boards have therefore reluctantly and sadly taken the decision to cease trading at the end of the 2017 cruising season.
CCL will honour its commitments to its holiday customers over the forthcoming season, and would like to thank its staff, partners and supporters for their efforts over the last 8 years.
While CCL will not go forward after 31st October 2017 under the current ownership the company is willing to discuss any offers that may come forward from interested parties who would like to take over the business including Capercaillie boats and the franchise agreements with our current partners. It will be a sad day for the current team and the future of the Lowland Canals if all of the hire boats disappear down south at the end of 2017.
For further information contact
Chair of Re-Union Canal Boats Ltd (majority shareholder)
call: 01620 830662