Brexit – Mactra Marine Equipment

Jim MacDonald owns a couple of businesses - Mactra Equipment & Fittings which is involved with shop equipment and refitting, and Mactra Marine Equipment selling blue water sailing equipment.

With an international bias to his product portfolio he was not keen on the outcome of the Brexit vote. “As the owner of a company that imports its products from throughout Europe and as a sailor that spends a lot of time sailing in Europe, I was initially horrified at the decision the country took.” However now that it has happened, he is resigned to getting it ‘over and done with as soon as possible and without any restrictions or additional costs’.

As to how Brexit has affected business, Mr MacDonald says the euro and pound exchange rate had an instant impact. “Initially we tried to absorb this, but it soon became evident that we could not afford to cut into our margin and at the same time give the back-up service to our customers that we are renowned for. Our prices had to go up.” Mactra has had some support from European suppliers who sympathised with its predicament. Even so, exchange rates are monitored on a daily basis.

Business has stayed stable for Mactra but end user customers installing products themselves are definitely looking further afield for keener prices. “Customers are saying that they can buy the same product abroad cheaper. In general, though, they have remained loyal, paying a little more, knowing that they have the support and backup that they need from us.” And boatbuilders are still ordering products.

As for the future, Mr MacDonald is hopeful. “Once we have the full divorce from Europe in place, both the UK and Europe still have to get along and do business together. Hopefully there will be no additional tariffs and more importantly no further customs restrictions in sending and receiving goods from Europe.”

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