Commissioned by a Russian billionaire and ultimately delivered to a powerful, Middle Eastern family, the 110-meter Radiant did more than just mezmerize anyone who sees it. Its build and subsequent sale became a breakthrough public case and enlightened many as to the actual costs in building a megayacht and the processes of selling one.
In early 2004, the late Boris Berezovsky, one of Russia's most influential billionaires, set out to build a 110-meter yacht at Lurssen to be called Darius. After some negotiation, Berezovsky decided to build the yacht, which would cost him €148,540,000, which were payable by installments plus interior fitting costs.
Whereas the size and volume of the yacht is impressive, the most fascinating element of Darius' story lies in the fact that due to public litigation that followed, it became actually known, how much does it cost to build a 110 meter superyacht at Lurssen, a figure that had previously only been estimated and hypothesised. Understandably, every project of this scale is different, however, even a range was difficult to obtain at the time.
As the economic crisis hit, Berezovsky was unable to pay his seventh installment of €23,890,421 in May 2008 and decided to put the yacht on the market as a yacht that was still in construction. The Russian billionaire then contacted brokerage firm Edmiston to sell the yacht and a target of €300 million net of commission and fees was set for the sale.
Whereas in today's economy selling a yacht for nearly double its original building cost may seem to be unreasonable, at the time, it was a common occurrence. Yachts that were ready immediately were considered more valuable than those that still had to be built. This led to many speculation builds and an era of yacht flipping that was sunset by an oversupply as of the early 2010s. In the megayacht market this still exists as one would have recently seen with the sale of the 134-meter Serene to a Saudi Prince for an amount higher than building costs by Russian billionaire Yuri Scheffler.
As is common in the yachting sector, Edmiston contacted Merle Wood, another powerful yacht broker, to help them find a buyer for the 110-meter yacht still under construction. In turn, Wood contacted the captain of a yacht owned by the Al Futtaim family for him to offer this deal to his employers. The captain agreed to do this, asking for a €3 million commission should the deal go through.
Whilst such a number may appear unreasonably high for a simple introduction, it is common in the yachting industry, which works mostly on commission, to have every middlemen involved in the transaction get a percentage of the deal. In this case, €3 million would equate to less than one percent of the total, advertised sales price. For the sale of smaller yachts, brokers routinely take a 10% cut of the total amount.
In July 2008, the Al Futtaim family decided to seriously consider a purchase of the yacht, which led to Edmiston meeting with Berezovsky and agreeing on a 2.5% commission if a net price of €300 million was achieved. After visiting the yard, the Al Futtaims, however, decided that they would rather not deal with brokers and that they would rather deal directly with the owner.
In situations with such high sales prices, it is not uncommon for sellers and buyers to want to deal directly with each other as opposed to with brokers and save on fees. When the broker was the one to introduce the client, this becomes, however, more complicated as to how commissions should be given out. A case that the Darius sale set a precedent for.
At the end of August, the Al Futtaim made an offer of €210 million for the purchase of the yacht. After negotiations, the final price went up to €240 million. By October the deal was closed and the €240 million paid. As these negotiations were held directly between the buyer and seller, Berezovsky decided that Edmiston was not entitled to a commission, a point with which the brokerage firm did not agree.
As a result, Edmiston initiated proceedings in UK courts in 2010, through which the details of the construction and sale of Darius became known, shedding a light as to how such processes take place. In July 2010, UK courts ruled that Edmiston was in fact entitled to a commission of €7,2 million, ie 3% of the sales price. An amount, which Berezovsky appealed.
In trying to assess whether a 3% commission was a fair market rate, more interesting evidence from the yacht brokerage world emerged. Berezovsky had also engaged YachtZoo and Royal Oceanic to find buyers for Darius at rates of 3% and 2.5% respectively. It was also disclosed that a commission of 4% was paid for the sale of Pelorus, a sistership to Darius, which sold for $150 million in October 2003.
The proceedings helped clarify for the industry as a whole the effective broker commission on the sale of larger superyachts, as opposed to the common 10% on the sale of regular sized yachts in the sub €10 million range. On the sale of the 78m Princess Mariana, for example, a 4% commission was paid. In the end, the court agreed to a 2.5% commission for Edmiston for a total of €6 million on the sale of Darius.
A close sistership to the 110-meter Pelorus, famously acquired by Roman Abramovich, Berezovsky's former business partner and the 110-meter Ona, built for Alisher Usmanov, Project Darius remains one of the most significant yachts on the water to this date. The series built on this 110 meter platform remains one of the most successful and emblematic for the German shipyard, which has since been able to build even larger yachts.
Few elements are known as to what amenities Darius, or Radiant as it is now named, has on the inside. Exterior photos show a helipad up on the aft of the yacht's fourth deck as well as an extensive lounging area aft of the yacht's third deck. A beach club and swimming platform can also be found aft of Radiant's lower deck.
Historically one of the most influential and powerful Russian oligarchs, the late Boris Berezovsky started his business career selling Soviet-made cars and foreign cars in 1989 after initially working in scientific research. He first built up an equity in Russian car producer, AvtoVAZ and later gained control of ORT Television, one of Russia's most popular television channels. Together with prolific yacht owner, Roman Abramovitch, he acquired a majority position in Sibneft, a Russian oil company, which constituted the bulk of his net worth.
Valued at $3,3 billion by Forbes, Abdulla Al Futtaim is the owner of the Al Futtaim Group, which is operated by his son, Omar. The exclusive distributor of Toyota and Honda cars in the UAE, it also owns the country's largest insurance company, Orient Insurance.
Check our Timeline platform to get the full access to our analytics platform, that offers you a detailed report on the timeline of each superyacht, real time market view to see the yacht market developing and much more!
Three days ago at age 73 died UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He was born in 1948 in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Khalifa was appointed as the second president of the UAE in 2004, succeeding his father and founder of the nation, Sheikh Zayed al Nahyan. As president he headed one of the largest investment funds in the world, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, managing hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (7 September 1948 – 13 May 2022)Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was one of the richest people in the world. The fortune of his family in 2009 was estimated at $150 billion. In the ranking of “The richest monarchs in the world" from 2007, Al Nahyan ranked second. In 2018 Forbes ranked him 43rd in the ranking with reported assets of $830 billion. AzzamHe was the owner of the world's largest motor yacht Azzam. She was built in 2013 at the German shipyard Lürssen. At 180.65 meters, with a top speed of over 30 knots, Azzam has outstanding characteristics, including her exceptionally short building time of less than three years from keel laying to delivery, in 2013. AzzamEngineer and principal designer Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi set out to build a large yacht with an innovative and timeless design that would be able to travel at high speed in warm and shallow waters. The bold and elegant exterior by Nauta Yachts incorporates many elements of visionary modern design. Renowned French designer Christophe Leoni conceived a sophisticated interior with luxurious décor inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century.AzzamShe features a helipad, submarines on board, and 36 people can be accommodated there at the same time. Burj KhalifaThe monarch owned real estate all over the world. Hundreds of villas, palaces, castles. There are 140 properties in London alone. The tallest building in the world, Dubai's nearly 828-meter glass-and-steel spire Burj Khalifa, was named in his honor.Credits: Lurssen; Yacht Harbour archive; Unsplash; Wikipedia
May 16, 2022
The Rio superyacht has been successfully delivered to her owner and has left the marina at the Ancona Superyacht Yard, as she prepares to show off her sleek profile on her debut Mediterranean cruise. The 62m bespoke yacht is made from steel and aluminum and was designed and built by CRN in close collaboration with design and architecture studio Omega Architects, who created the exterior concept, and designers Pulina Exclusive Interiors for the interior styling. At 62 meters long and 11.2 meters in the beam, this four deck superyacht accommodates up to 12 guests in the owner’s suite and five guest suites. These include two full-beam VIPs – one on the main deck forward, the other on the lower deck – and three suites on the lower deck. The upper deck is the owner’s exclusive domain, a great oasis of intimacy and privacy that can also be enjoyed as a social zone.Rio features the taut, flowing hull lines and near-vertical bow reflect a strikingly dynamic, sporty personality. The yacht is characterized by large and luminous indoor and outdoor living areas. She reflects the character of the owner, who has a passion for being onboard. An individual who desired a shared cruising experience with family and close friends. The generous full-height windows on the main and owner decks form a visual continuum in sync with the elegant exterior architecture, offering a delightful play of light and reflected shimmer with constant direct contact with the sea. TWW Yachts is representing the buyer, while TWW Yacht Management has provided integral technical consultancy with survey and project management oversight throughout the final stages of construction and is now available for charter exclusively with TWW Yachts. Rio will be cruising in the Mediterranean this summer and from October onwards in the Caribbean.The yacht will make her world premiere at the Monaco Yacht Show, from the 28th of September to the 1st October 2022. CRN is currently building another 4 fully custom yachts: the 72-meter CRN M/Y 139, the 60-meter CRN M/Y 141, the 52-meter CRN M/Y 142 and the 67-meter CRN M/Y 143.CRN is a historic shipyard and Ferretti Group brand and company that designs and builds fully custom 45m to 95m steel and aluminum yachts. It was founded in 1963 in Ancona, Italy. The Ancona yard spans over 80,000 sq. m and boasts a large historic private marina looking out on the Adriatic, where all the CRN megayachts are made. The fleet now numbers over 400 seagoing vessels, plus several aluminum and light-alloy models built for other Ferretti Group brands. Credit: CRN
May 16, 2022
Turkish builder Alia Yachts has completed a major step forward in the build of its latest 60-meter project: the keel laying of the superyacht, which took place at its Antalya facility in March. The 60m project was commissioned for an experienced yachtsman who has owned numerous vessels of varying sizes over the past decade. The yacht was made by Alia Yachts with Vripack and the GCC-based SF Yachts. That team is also responsible for the 55-meter superyacht Al Waab which was delivered by Alia in 2021.The yacht can accommodate 12 guests across six generous guest suites – two twins and four VIPs complete with double beds. The master stateroom can be found on the upper deck forward, offering phenomenal views from high above the water, as well as its own large walk-in wardrobe and a dedicated owner’s lounge overlooking a private foredeck. Standout areas on board the 60-meter project include her sprawling lower-deck beach club which boasts a massage room, dive store, steam shower, gym and relaxation zone. In addition, for ease of movement on board, the yacht also comes equipped with an elevator connecting all levels from the lower to the upper deck. “Following the footsteps of Al Waab, we are happy to mark the ceremonial keel laying for this bigger project of over 1.000 gross tons and huge exterior spaces. With a reputation for bespoke, custom yachts and not being a mass builder, every custom yacht we deliver represents the unique vision of the owner and this project is another source of pride for us. The owner and his family have some incredible travel plans on the horizon and we feel honored to be trusted to make this into a reality for him,” comments Gökhan Çelik, President of Alia Yachts.Alia Yachts was founded in 2008 by Gokhan Çelik and Omer Koray. Located in the port of Antalya on the beautiful Turkish Riviera, Alia Yachts shipyard currently occupies approximately 8,000 sq. m, including three construction halls with their suites of specialist workshops and a dedicated interiors facility. With an additional 16,000 sq. m under development for 2019, Alia Yachts will rank among the top facilities in the region.Credits: Andrea Porrà - NWH/Alia Yachts
May 16, 2022
The 42.40m yacht Idefix (formerly known as Blacksheep) was successfully sold by IYC. Michel Chryssicopoulos was introducing the buyer and Tassos Papantoniou of Torrance Yachts was representing the seller. Idefix was built in 1998 by Oceanco, she had a refit in 2010 and benefited from a full paint job in 2015. The yacht has been immaculately maintained and operated to extremely high standards by her experienced owners.She can accommodate 12 guests across six cabins, including a spacious master suite with the equivalent space typically found on a 50m boat. The yacht key features include an expansive sun deck with hot-tub, a high-volume interior and a spacious al fresco dining area by the sky lounge and also features a more formal dining area on the main deck.The yacht’s interior was designed by The A Group, while her naval architecture was made by Oceanco. Thanks to two MTU engines, she can reach a top speed of 18 knots. Idefix’s last known asking price was EUR9,600,000. Credits: IYC; Yacht Harbour archive
May 13, 2022
Turkish shipbuilder Mazu Yachts completes the first hull of the 28m Mazu 92DS series with the second hull in-build under spec. Mazu 92DS is the first of a new semi-displacement series, the first of a new semi-displacement series that will be followed by a 112 DS and 132 DS model. The yacht exterior and interior was made by Red Yacht Design. It features a raised pilothouse positioned forward in order to maximize the interior volumes. The vertical bow increases the waterline length. The yacht’s carbon composite for the superstructure is keeping the weight down and the center of gravity low. The yacht can accommodate eight guests across four cabins, including a full-beam owner’s suite located on the main deck forward, a full-beam VIP and two single cabins.There is more lounging space, as well as dining facilities and the exterior helm station shaded by the hardtop on the fly deck. She features a large swim platform, and a beach club with a bar. The yacht will be powered by triple Volvo Penta IPS 1050 drives for a top speed of 22 knots and a cruising speed of 16 knots. This is the first time IPS propulsion has been installed on a steel-hulled yacht, requiring close collaboration with Volvo Penta and Profjord in Sweden for the engineering and naval architecture.The first Mazu 92 is expected to be launched in 2023. Turkish Mazu Yachts has been designing and producing Open and Hard-Top Motor Yachts and Superyacht Tenders since 2011. The state of the art facility of 3000 sq. m indoor and 1000 sq. m outdoor space also accommodates carpentry shops and paint booths for creating an anti-dust environment.Credits: Mazu Yachts
May 13, 2022