Initial public offerings (IPO) are the stuff of most startups' dreams, yet whereas they have been a strong vehicle for exits in other sectors, the rare yachting firms that have listed their shares on public markets have often struggled to perform on stock exchanges.


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In July 2017, Global Yachting Group, the holding company behind several superyacht painting and maintenance brands such as Pinmar and Rolling Stock went public on London's AIM exchange. This followed a management buyout backed by private equity firm Lonsdale Capital in 2016. With revenues of €54.6 million in 2016 and an EBITDA of €6.7 million, the holding was valued at £55 million following its IPO.

Since, however, its share price has dropped from over £140 per share to just £34, and its market capitalisation dropped down to just £16.25 million, nearly a 70% drop in just over a year. The drop was primarily caused by the market reacting poorly to a drop in new build business secured by the group, which broke even in the first half of 2018. In its statement, Remy Millot, however remained confident business would pick up in coming quarters.



On the brokerage side, YCO has famously been the highest profile firm to attempt a public offering on London's AIM exchange back in 2008. Its shares were then trading at 49 pence per share on the back of high profile clients and revenues leading to a valuation of near £25 million. Shareholders included the co-founders, the Monegasque Pastor family, and a set of investment firms. However, after 4 years of a difficult market, its share price dropped from 49p to 3p per share.

Ultimately, YCO chose to delist from the public markets in 2012, despite recording £27 million in revenue in 2010 and £588,000 in net profits. After delisting, Fifty Four Four Ltd, a company owned by Charles Birkett, YCO founder and CEO, gathered 50.4% of YCO Group's share capital and made a mandatory offer to the minority to buy them out at 1p per share, giving the business a £485,000 valuation. Since delisting, YCO has continued to be a dominant player in the superyacht brokerage and management space, representing yachts such as the 119-meter M/Y A at one time.



The drive of the superyacht market to make an IPO work likely comes from the success of the strategy in the smaller boating segment. Beneteau, one of the largest players in the space with sales of over €1.2 billion in 2017, has been public since 1989, its share value rising over 700% since. Primarily active in 10-20m boat construction, the company is currently sitting at a market cap of €1.16 billion.

MarineMax, a leading US boat dealer went public back in 1998 at $13,75 per share, trading today at twice the valuation after a strong 20x recovery since the 2008 financial crisis, which saw its stock fall to under $2 per share in 2009. Today MarineMax is valued at over $600 million. Mastercraft, the famous powerboat manufacturer went public in 2015 at under $16 per share and trades today at over $32 per share with a valuation of over $600 million.



Superyachts' difficult financial forecasting and small market in absolute unit numbers continues to puzzle public investors, strangling the sector into resorting to purely private funding and capping its exit potential. Some, however, remain on the hunt for a formula to solve the public markets for superyachts with leading companies like Gulf Craft contemplating a listing in the near future. 

Latest News

60-meter superyacht St David joins Morley Yachts charter fleet
Morley Yachts, the Mediterranean yacht broker based in Monaco, is pleased to announce the addition of motor yacht St David to its Central Agency charter fleet. The yacht is now available for charter this winter in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives and the Seychelles from New Year’s Eve 2018, and is open to potential charter itineraries in destinations such as Zanzibar, Sri Lanka or even Dubai from February 2019.The custom-built, tri-deck Benetti motor yacht St David was recently sold to a European buyer introduced by Morley Yachts, David Jakabovic and has now joined the brokerage’s Central Agency fleet. The 60m yacht was launched in 2008 and underwent a full refit in 2017. Both the interior and exterior was designed by Andrew Winch and she can accommodate 12 guests in six staterooms, including a split-level Master Suite and VIP Suite.The duplex Master Suite has an office, a sitting room, a huge bathroom, and stairways leading up to the master bedroom with its ornately carved bed and panoramic windows. At the touch of a button, the hand-painted ceiling slides apart to reveal a skylight above the bed.Before steaming the Indian Ocean, St David is receiving another multi-million dollar refit. It includes a new chase boat, Bimini material, TVs and a projector, satellite antenna and the replacement of certain decorative features.The multi-talented crew will include a massage therapist, watersports instructors and a chef. Guests aboard St David will be able to employ a Dive Butler service offering local knowledge of the best dive sites.Morley Yachts’ contacts with the Ministry of Tourism in the Seychelles enables charter guests to have unprecedented access to national parks and reserves. Itinerary ideas will be shared with anybody interested in chartering in places that are still off the beaten track as far as yachting is concerned.St David was designed to be enjoyed in the company of friends and her features include:● Generous deck areas, including a sun deck with one of the largest freshwater hot tubs on any 60m yacht● All Cabins excluding the Master are convertible to Twin or Double● Cinema (movies can be enjoyed from the jacuzzi and the bar and seating area, thanks to a semi-translucent screen offering viewing from two sides)● Gym ● Massage room● Private nightclub● Professional SCUBA diving equipment, used on diving excursions led by the yacht’s very own onboard SCUBA diving instructor. ● A collection of tenders and toys to appeal to all charter guests, ranging from snorkelling equipment and fishing rods to the latest watertoys such as SeaBobs and a Wave Runner.Her elegant wood-panelled interior, inspired by the grand residences of the Italian Riviera, provides opportunities for guests to enjoy both formal occasions and relaxed, intimate gatherings. The yacht’s professional crew of 15, led by Captain Jean-Marc Bitouzet, have played a significant role in her impressive charter reputation.
Construction update: YN 19150 Project Electra hull and superstructure now joined together!
Heesen is proud to announce that on Saturday 10 November 2018, the hull and superstructure of YN 19150 Project Electra were joined together at the facility in Oss.Electra is the second in the 50 metre 5000 class, which features an FDHF hull and hybrid propulsion. 
Based on the success of her award-winning predecessor - YN 17850 Home - Project Electra marries performance and efficiency by using the slippery Fast Displacement Hull Form with Heesen’s innovative hybrid solution, which combines diesel and electric propulsion.It is indicative of a core strength of Heesen, which offers progressive solutions and smart technologies to the market in new products while being able to draw on its financial strength to bring those products to market as spec builds. It is a ‘hybrid’ business methodology that offers the possibility of reduced build times and economic savings for clients while delivering cutting edge systems and full-custom options.Compared to a traditional diesel engine arrangement, the hybrid power and propulsion system is quieter and more fuel efficient. In addition, it offers cost-reducing benefits and flexible power management, as the yacht can be operated in four different cruising modes: • Hybrid mode: up to 9 knots at noise levels of just 46dB, equivalent to soft rain! Two water-cooled DC electric shaft motors of 127kW each quietly power the yacht. The benefits are silent cruising and higher manoeuvrability in close quarters.• Economic Mode: 9-12 knots with main engines on and generators off. Ideal for longer passages, the economic mode comes with few interesting perks – frugal fuel consumption (at 12 knots the yacht burns just 98 litres per hour) and extended generator service life.• Cruising Mode: 12-15 knots. This is the traditional mode, where the diesel engines drive the yacht’s propellers and the generators provide the hotel load.• Boost Mode: to achieve the max speed 16.3 knots, the generator-powered shaft motors are brought into service alongside the main engines to give an extra kick of power.Electra’s technological heart is wrapped in a contemporary design package that comes in just below the 500GT threshold. Frank Laupman of Omega Architects created a bold exterior design where aesthetics meet functionality. The vertical bow with spray rails is not only on-trend, it also serves a practical purpose by providing progressive buoyancy when carving through waves. The bow shape also means the crew accommodation can be set further forward. Twelve guests are accommodated in five lower deck suites and a master stateroom located on the main deck forward. The interior design is by Cristiano Gatto, whose décor integrates organic shapes and emphasizes the indoor-outdoor connection with deep and low furniture, allowing the guests to fully enjoy the panoramic vistas from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Project Electra is available for delivery in April 2020.
The striking technological invention on custom line 120’ is honoured at the 2018 Boat Builder Awards
The choice to invest in Research & Development has once again rewarded Ferretti Group and its commitment to innovation. Further evidence came last night, November 13th, at the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, where Ferretti Group received a major recognition from the jury of the Boat Builder Awards, a prestigious event organised by METSTRADE and IBI magazine.Specifically, the Boat Builder Award in the category “Collaborative Solution Between A Superyacht Builder and Its Supply Chain Partner” went to the innovative lounge door on Custom Line 120’, designed by the Ferretti Group Engineering Department in collaboration with Francesco Paszkowski Design studio and developed in conjunction with Mecaer Aviation Group, an important player in the aerospace industry.The invention is an innovative glass door that breaks new ground in the nautical world, with undeniable benefits in terms of both practicality and aesthetic appeal. The door, installed at a 45° angle, can either open traditionally with the two panels sliding sideways, or exploit a tilting mechanism to rotate upwards and disappear into the ceiling. Both operations are performed by electric motors, with the tilting rotation made possible by twin worm gears. The system also includes a non-reversible gear motor that ensures safe operation in the event of electrical failures. Through this high tech mechanism, the tilting door creates a continuity between the cockpit and lounge areas, forming a single environment of over 80 square meters.“Innovation is a door to the future, and in this case it is literally a door: the innovative glass door designed for the new Custom Line 120’. This accolade rewards our Group's significant investments in Research & Development, an area of the yacht-building industry which could be defined as the search for new levels of comfort and the development of solutions capable of improving the on-board experience” said Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi. “There isn’t a single investment in R&D that wasn’t rewarded in the form of customer satisfaction.”
Experiencing the Great Barrier Reef is the foundation of its celebration and protection
Ocean Alliance has hosted a select group of international charter agents, travel designers and media representatives onboard motor yacht Oneworld to discover the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. The outstanding feedback from the guests highlighted a greater appreciation of the destination, delight in its vibrancy and a desire to protect and celebrate this UNESCO World Heritage Listed location.Among the six hand-picked guests were three representatives of world’s leading brokerage houses - Camper & Nicholsons (France), Northrop & Johnson (USA), and the Luxury Charter Group. Thanks to the growing interest for superyacht bookings in the travel agency world, the group included a representative from influential Australian high-end inbound agency, The Tailor. A journalist contributor to Forbes, Bloomberg and Michelin guides flew in from New York with Tourism Australia’s support, to join The CEO Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. Setting out from Hamilton Island, the five-day familiarisation trip took in the highlights of the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef from both above, on and below the water’s surface. The invaluable support received from Tourism Australia allowed guests access engaging experiences alongside Oneworld’s unique offering in the domestic charter market. These wide and varied experiences included cuddling a koala; wandering along the iconic Whitehaven Beach on the south east coastline of Whitsunday Island (recently voted the best island in the world by Condé Nast’s 2018 readers survey); a trek to the heights of Hamilton Island’s Passage Peak to expansive views of the entire region under an iconic Australian crisp blue sky; undertaking a scenic seaplane flight over the islands and reef, spotting mantarays and turtles under the clear surface; diving into the depths from the aft deck during a brief yet memorable Outer Reef experience; and an adrenaline-fueled slide down the inflatable slide at Chance Bay. “It was wonderful to experience first-hand the latest addition to the Australian charter fleet. Oneworld is a beautiful, well-equipped Majesty 100 that delivers a premium charter experience. The Crew and Chef were so professional and the service, the food and the ambience were exceptional. I have a renewed enthusiasm for the Whitsundays and the Reef, thanks to the amazing Oneworld charter. We were able to explore the region's picturesque islands, from the most remote and untouched bays to the 5-star luxury of qualia and the boutiques, restaurants and attractions of Hamilton Island,” said Jeni Tidmarsh of Luxury Charter Group.The compact trip also included cruising out to the Great Barrier Reef, in a short 3-hour motoring passage, and taking the opportunity to dive on the reef guided by Reef Safari’s insightful Instructor.“'I've dived in many places in the world and the clarity on the reef was exceptional at the Stepping Stones dive site. I was so excited to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, and my expectations were way surpassed. I was blown away. The team at Reef Safari were wonderful guides, pointing out different types of fish and, after our dive, giving a great mini lesson on the fascinating life of reef and coral,” said journalist Sophie Friedman.The Stepping Stones are a unique feature of Bait Reef. They are made up of 18 or more flat topped, thus the name, coral pinnacles lined up in a row. At the Southern Face shallow waters are dominated by flat terrain completely covered by hard corals with the odd sand patch. Large turtles, manta rays and some pelagic fishes such as mackerel and barracuda are often seen cruising along the drop-off. “I recently read a quote by renowned marine biologist, Sylvia Earle, where she said ‘Please get out into wild places…. And get under the sea. Look at creatures and how they live. It's hard to be reckless with nature if you have spent time in a wild place. So be a curious explorer!’ and without doubt, we now have six of the most committed ambassadors for the reef and chartering a superyacht in the Whitsunday Islands,” said Laurie Foulon, Charter Experience Manager of Ocean Alliance. The familiarisation trip wasn’t all at sea as the group had the opportunity to discover Hamilton Island and its leading resort, qualia, for a private tour of its private pavilions and sumptuous hosted lunch. The final leg was returning to Airlie Beach on the mainland of Australia, whilst Tourism Australia’s representative Ingrid Sellarulo guided the group through the Signature Experiences program, followed by Captain Matt Baily who imparted his immense knowledge of the area and secret spots for beach BBQs and exploration.Oneworld was launched onto the Australian superyacht charter market earlier in the year. Built to the exacting standards of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the yacht is available for charter along the east coast of Australia offering guests a quintessentially Australian experience on a leading superyacht.As superyachts are limited to no more than 12 guests, the impact of international guests discovering a destination as unique and sensitive as the Great Barrier Marine Park is very low. Whilst the tourism expenditure is high yielding, a recent Economic Impact study undertaken by peak industry body, Superyacht Australia, calculated that superyacht guests spend AUD$7500 per guest per day ashore.“Our partners from this trip onboard Oneworld will return to their desk invigorated by the experience of cruising on a superyacht on the Queensland coast. Their recommendations will result in discerning travellers selecting the destination for their next holiday bringing tourism dollars to this regional centre not to mention a heightened awareness, appreciation and celebration of the reef. We see it often, guests return from a reef experience with altered perspectives and committed to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef,” offered Joachim Howard, Managing Director of Ocean Alliance.
World’s first diving drone equipped with robotic arm
Most drones provide a fun way for you capture beautiful outdoor views and while hiking or traveling. But with an underwater drone, anyone can explore the unknown ocean depths. The functionality of a standard, airborne drone expands to meet challenging ocean currents with high-performance motion technology.Titan is the most affordable underwater drone on the market with the highest available water pressure rating, built to go wherever your underwater adventure takes you. With its powerful 4K 30fps camera and streamlined, game-like control system, Titan can be your eyes under the sea. Able to withstand depths up to 150m, farther than any other drone to date, you can pilot Titan with an easy to use smartphone/tablet app. Capture stunning underwater images and videos, find plentiful locations to fish, or even carry out accurate technical inspections of underwater equipment. Whether you are scuba diver, underwater photographer, drone enthusiast, marine naturalist, educator or just want to have fun, Titan is your best choice. Titan’s built-in camera features a 160° ultra-wide angle lens, creating cinematic 4K videos and spectacular 8MP photos in rich detail and color.Titan is designed with a diving range of up to 150m, so it can dive down and unravel the mysteries of the deep blue sea, while you stay high and dry, enjoying the adventure. Powered by 6 high-performance thrusters and guided by a precise steering algorithm, Titan commands the speed, endurance, and agility needed to withstand demanding deep dives and strong currents.<iframe width="1063" height="517" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3FSpNnhNXB8" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>