Dorset’s luxury boat builder Sunseeker International is cutting pay and hours as it considers axing jobs over the coronavirus crisis.

The company, with factories in Portland and Poole, has already sent 200 home on unpaid leave until May 11 in an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Sunseeker, which saw a big rise in profits in figures announced last year, said it was continuing to build boats but had to adapt to the crisis.

Chief executive Andrea Frabetti said in a statement: “The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is affecting the majority of businesses in some way around the globe, including us here at Sunseeker; unprecedented without doubt.

“As a UK manufacturer it is imperative that we adapt in order to maintain our business, our skilled employees and support the UK economy long-term.

“Working closely with our suppliers, the business is continuing to build boats for delivery globally, albeit there are understandable challenges at this time given changes in the global economy, boat show cancellations and travel restrictions for both employees and customers.

“We regret to say that we need to consider reducing our workforce.

“In an effort to avoid any compulsory redundancies however, we have taken the decision to enforce two temporary measures; lay off periods and salary reductions for a period of up to two months.

“We are confident that these measures will help to mitigate the current and potential challenges our business will face over the coming weeks. We are now commencing a formal consultation process with our employee representatives to consider further proposals. This consultation process will last for a minimum of 45 days.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision for us to make, but we have a duty to all of our employees to take any action that ensures our business is protected in the longer term. Please be assured that full support will be provided to all employees affected throughout the consultation process.”

The company said boat building would continue throughout the review and investment in new models would continue.

“With the new model development programme firmly on track, the business is set to achieve strong growth in 2021 and we continue to work with clients daily in discussing their future purchases,” Mr Frabetti added.