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.
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The 95m Bliss has left the Feadship yard in Makkum and will be transported to the North Sea for her first sea trials. The yacht was launched in May 2021. Her exterior is made by Jan Schaffers of Studio De Voogt. She has state-of-the-art technology and engineering covering all onboard systems. Advanced security and life-safety systems have been discretely incorporated and De Voogt Naval Architects has been heavily involved in the design and engineering of the hybrid propulsion system to enable the yacht to sail in diesel-electric mode. The interior is made by Rémi Tessier. She has nine luxurious guest cabins, large lounges, and an extensive gym and wellness area. Bliss is fully equipped and certified to cruise Polar regions, anchor in deep water, or keep position with her dynamic positioning system. She has a top speed of 17 knots and a range of 6000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots.Feadship was formed as a group in 1949 as a marketing partnership between six Dutch shipyards, de Vries Lentch, Van de Stadt, Witsen & Vis, Akerboom, De Vries Scheepsbouw and Van Lent Shipyard, and De Voogt Naval Architects. Feadship is well-known as one of Netherlands’ most elite yacht builders and delivers superyachts from 50–100+ meters in length.Credits: Feadship
June 23, 2021
Lürssen has announced the successful launch and unveiling of project JAG. She was launched on 22 June 2021 in the traditional fashion: down the slipway! She is built for a very experienced repeat client, who upgraded from his former 96m Lürssen yacht.JAG’s build was supervised by Moran Yacht & Ship, who have a long-standing relationship with the client. For them, as well as for the long-time captain Kyle Fultz, it is the third Lürssen yacht for the same owner, whom they have supported with their vast combined experience.Exterior designer Nuvolari-Lenard has given JAG very harmonious proportions, and with a length of 122m (including bow sprit) and a beam of 17.80m she boasts extraordinary volumes, accommodating all of the owner’s requirements whilst still maintaining sleek and elegant lines. Her interior, designed by Reymond Langton, is a beautiful, bespoke homage to the owner’s lifestyle when on board his yacht.Lürssen is a German shipyard with headquarters in Bremen-Vegesack and shipbuilding facilities in Lemwerder, Berne and Bremen-Aumund. Founded in 1875, Lürssen is one of the world's leading builders of custom luxury superyachts and has launched many of the largest yachts in the global fleet, including Octopus, Rising Sun, and Azzam.Credits: Lürssen/Klaus Jordan
June 22, 2021
Leoni Design Workshop (LDWO) have shown their newest design concept. The 49m Etere has an aluminium hull and superstructure. The superyacht will have five spacious decks. Because of the close to nature concept Etere features the full height windows in the main saloon and in the dining room. She can accommodate ten guests in five cabins and will be operated by a crew of nine. The large master suite also has a private terrace.She also features an aft deck beach lounge, with integrated sofas. There are two configurations available. The first offers a lounge area on the main deck aft, and an interior beach club area. The second one has an open beach club and an open-planned lounge space and an infinity pool.Etere will have a top speed of 19 knots and a cruising speed of 17.5 knots. She will have a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 10 knots.Credits: LDWO
June 22, 2021
Gulf Craft delivers another Majesty 100, named Konfeta. Wholly manufactured at the in-house design and production facility of Gulf Craft, the Majesty 100 will set off for the Turquoise Coast in Turkey and will cruise further on to the Mediterranean Sea following her summer berthing in Turkey.Hull 10 of the Majesty 100 was designed to the specifications of the owner and stands out for her exquisite exterior and interior design offering ample onboard space as well as a sky lounge on the upper deck.With folding balconies on both sides of the cockpit, the Majesty 100’s interior features include floor-to-ceiling glazing in the main deck saloon and five spacious staterooms that can accommodate ten guests and five crew members. Her raised wheelhouse has 270-degree vertical glass panels, a design-first by Gulf Craft, which offers the captain unobstructed views of the seascapes.“Every superyacht manufactured at Gulf Craft is the result of precision design and engineering, and careful attention to detail. The Majesty 100 has been one of our most sought-after models and raises the bar in terms of performance as well as exterior and interior features. With the new delivery, we are honored to take Gulf Craft’s flag to more exotic destinations,” says Mohammed Alshaali, Gulf Craft Chairman.Gulf Craft CEO Talal Nasralla added: “Since the Majesty 100 was launched at the 2017 Dubai International Boat Show, she has become one of Gulf Craft’s best-selling superyachts.”Made of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP), making her lightweight at 199 Gross Tons, the 31.7m Majesty 100 is powered by twin MAN 1,900 horsepower engines reaching a top speed of 20 knots. Since the company’s inception in 1982, Gulf Craft has grown to become one of the top seven shipyards in the world: once a builder of small fishing boats in modest premises, a genuine passion for the sealed Gulf Craft, they then established their credentials as a leader of innovation and technology in the yachting industry. With five brands in the product portfolio, ranging from 31 to 175 feet, Gulf Craft manufactures yachts and boats that appeal to a wide audience such as touring passenger vessels, Silvercraft family day boats, Oryx Sport Cruisers, Nomad Explorer Yachts, and the flagship Majesty Yachts.Credits: Gulf Craft
June 22, 2021
This weekend Baltic Yachts in Pietarsaari, Finland launched the sailing yacht Perseverance. This yacht is an advanced composite 117 Custom Classic sloop from the board of renowned Dutch designers Dykstra Naval Architects.She has distinctive pilot cutter-style features, including a straight stem, bowsprit, counter stern and deep bulwarks, but a very modern approach to emissions and the environment.With an electric propulsion system powered by a lithium ion battery bank this global cruising yacht will be able to operate in ‘silent’ mode for long periods.Her ‘light and contemporary’ interior was made by Dutch design studio, deVosdeVries. The yacht is designed with an owner’s suite forward and three double guest cabins.Perseverance will now be prepared for sea trials in readiness for delivery to her owner. Baltic Yachts was founded in 1973 with a clear objective to build better yachts that are lighter, stiffer, and faster. With more than 550 yachts launched, that objective has been continuously met.Credits: Baltic Yachts
June 21, 2021