70% of companies in the yachting sector describe themselves as leading according to a study performed by Yacht Harbour on a sample of over 100 companies. It can therefore be hard for customers to differentiate at first glance the real financial position of companies and their scale.

Following a very active past 20 years in the mergers and acquisitions space in the yachting industry, some behemoths have emerged, controlling a large portion of the market and shaping the industry moving forward. Some high-profile individuals and corporations have also become involved in the superyacht industry in recent years. We have therefore investigated some of the most powerful corporations and individuals in the yachting space.

Dalian Wanda Group


Princess AVK

Annual revenue: $39.47 billion (2014)

Chairman & Founder: Wang Jianlin

Brands: Sunseeker

Largest commercial real estate operator in China and world's largest cinema chain operator, Wanda Group was founded in 1988 by Wang Jianlin. The company has today 634 billion yuans in assets and manages over 26 million square meters of hotel property. In 2013, the company decided to purchase UK-based yacht manufacturer, Sunseeker. 

Having gone through losses of 9 million pounds in 2009, Sunseeker restructured its debt and was taken over by FL Partners, an Irish private equity company. Sunseeker was sold in 2013 to the Wanda Group for around 300 million pounds according to the Financial Times.

LVMH


Symphony - © Feadship Fanclub

Annual revenue: $35.6 billion (2015)

Chairman & CEO: Bernard Arnault


Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, better known as the French luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, is perhaps not so surprisingly also a player in the superyacht industry. In 2008, L Capital, the company's investment arm, purchased Princess Yachts in a deal worth 200 million pounds according to Reuters, with support from the Calyon investment bank. 

Later that year, the conglomerate strengthened their position in the company with the purchase of Royal Van Lent, part of the Feadship organization, for a reported sum between 200-400 million euros. In 2007, Royal Van Lent had posted sales of 100 million euros.

Gavio Group


Fast - © Baglietto
Annual turnaround: €2.2 billion (2012)

Brands: BagliettoCerri Cantieri Navali, Bertram

Gruppo Gavio, a large Italian corporation whose main business lies in motorway concessions with the company operating over 1400 kilometers of motorways in Italy, also has interests in the yachting industry. In 2012, Bejamino Gavio led an acquisition of the iconic Italian Baglietto shipyard for a sum of €18.5 million. The shipyard had been through some rough waters during the financial crisis resulting in 73 million euros of negative equity in 2009.

The group further consolidated its position in the sector by purchasing Cerri Cantieri Navali, a few months before the Baglietto deal, and by later acquiring US-based Bertram in 2015.

Privinvest Group


Siren © Yacht Harbour

Current owners: Akram & Iskandar Safa


Privinvest Group is one of Europe's largest maritime corporations which is involved in naval manufacturing and is also involved in the superyacht industry. Founded by the Safa brothers, Privinvest purchased Constructions mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) based in Cherbourg, France in 1992. The company then managed to turn around the fledging shipyard with new orders from the Middle East according to the Independent.

In 2007, the group funded 30% of the Abu Dhabi MAR company which ventured into shipbuilding through ADMShipyards and worked on the 141-meter Yas. In 2009, Privinvest continued to consolidate its position in the sector by acquiring German shipyard Nobiskrug.

Azimut-Benetti Group


I Dynasty © Superyachts Monaco

Maximum recorded asset net worth: €300 million (2011)

Current owner: Paolo Vitelli

Brands: Benetti, Azimut

Azimut was established in the early 1970s by Paolo Vitelli as a dealership of Amerglass boats. The company then evolved into yacht manufacturing by building its first 43ft boat. It later delivered Failaka, the first 30-metre fibreglass yacht ever built, to a Kuwaiti prince. In 1985, Azimut took over the Fratelli Benetti boatyard in Viareggio, setting the roots for the group. The company later started collaborating with young designer, Stefano Righini, which would bring the Azimut lines the company is known for today.

The company acquired the Gobbi shipyard in 2001 which now produced the group's Atlantis range from 10m to 18m. In 2004, the group acquired Fraser Yachts, a large yacht brokerage company. It later developed Marina di Varazze and the Royal Yacht Club in Moscow. By 2011, the group's net assets grew to €300 million according to this presentation with a turnover of €600 million, a significant cut on its €1 billion turnover in 2008 according to the Financial Times.

Ferretti Group


Chopi Chopi © Yacht Harbour
Maximum recorded value: 1.5 billion (2007)

Current owners: Weichai Group, Royal Bank of Scotland

Brands: FerrettiCustom LinePershingCRN, Itama, Mochi Craft, Riva

Ferretti was established in 1968 as the first marine division of Alessandro and Norberto Ferretti's family business. In 1971, the company delivered its first wooden motor-sailer and by 1982 it began producing boats for sport fishing with a flybridge. By 1996, the group decided to expand into a larger range and set up Custom Line, a division meant to operate in the growing 26-40m range. In following years, the company multiplied acquisitions buying CNA in 1998, CRN in 1999, Riva in 2000, Mochi Craft in 2001 and Itama in 2004.

As the company was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) after having been acquired in a leveraged buyout by Candover Investments which put the Group's value at €1.5 billion in 2007, the financial crisis led to a significant drop in sales. As a result, the Group had to restructure debt and its creditors, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, converted a portion of their €1.2 billion debt into equity according to Bloomberg.

Ferretti Group was eventually sold to Weichai Group, a state-owned Chinese company, the largest maker of bulldozer's in China.


Vagit Alekperov

Galactica Super Nova - © Dick Holthius

Net worth: $11.1 billion (2016)

Brands: Heesen Yachts

Mr. Vagit Alekperov is currently considered to be Russia's 9th richest man according to Forbes. In May 2015  it became known that the head of Lukoil, Russia's largest independent oil company, is the current owner of Heesen.
In 2008, Mr. Alekperov purchased Heesen Yachts from founder, Frans Heesen, for a reported sum of 100 million euros. The shipyard posted profits of €5.2 million in 2013 according to Forbes Russia.

In March 2016, Heesen launched its newest flagship, the 70m Galactica Super Nova (Project Kometa) which was built for Mr. Alekperov according to Dutch publication, Quote.

Mohammed Al Barwani


Turquoise - © Ocean Independence

Net worth: $1.2 billion (2015)

Brands: Oceanco, Turquoise Yachts

Energy tycoon, Mohammed al-Barwani made his wealth investing in oil, gas, minerals and manufacturing. In 2010 he however decided to purchase Dutch shipyard, Oceanco from Greek shipping magnate, Theodore Angelopoulos. First company to build spa pools on superyachts, Oceanco has much benefited from the hands-on approach of Al Barnawi delivering the beautiful Nirvana for Russian billionaire Potanin as well as expanding its facility to be able to construct yachts up to 160 meters.

In December 2013, al-Barwani further consolidated his position in the industry, purchasing Turkish yacht manufacturer, Proteksan (now Turquoise Yachts), which was struggling following the highly publicized sinkage of M/Y Yogi.

Latest News

New Records at the 62nd Genoa International Boat Show
At today's Closing Press Conference of the 62nd Genoa International Boat Show journalists heard the closing statements. The six-day event saw 168 events including conventions, seminars, technical workshops, conferences, presentations, and 4,463 sea trials."This has been not only an incredible Boat Show, but above all an efficient one: in an exceptional moment for the yachting industry, having grown by 31.1%, with a turnover of € 6.1 billion and a workforce growing by 9.7%, visitors have increased by 10.7% since last year to an impressive 103,812 (as recorded at 11.00 am this morning), and all contracts have been closed," says Saverio Cecchi, President of the Italian Marine Industry Association and I Saloni Nautici."The results have exceeded all expectations and, in addition to the success achieved in terms of the public and businesses, the city has been able to open up and function as a place of high-quality hospitality and entertainment. The next step will be in June 2023 when, on the new Eastern Waterfront which is currently taking shape, Genoa will be the final stage of The Ocean Race. This is a sport in which there is always a finish line: for us, the one shared with the Italian Marine Industry Association and the Saloni Nautici will be the new ten-year agreement starting in 2024, which will include all new exhibition areas," comments Marco Bucci, The Mayor of Genoa.The President of the Liguria Regional Council, Mr Giovanni Toti: "What makes me proud today is not only the number of visitors who came to enjoy the Genoa Boat Show but the rate of growth recorded for employment throughout the entire industry. This is an economy that works, an economy that makes dreams come true, and the Genoa International Boat Show is its focal point. Just like the new Eastern Waterfront, Italy's largest urban regeneration site, the Show is the dream of a better city becoming a reality."Credits: Genoa International Boat Show
50m Hyperyacht Bolide 170 Will Be Premiering at Monaco Yacht Show
Victory Design will be attending the Monaco Yacht Show and will be premiering its new Bolide 170: a 50m hyperyacht resulting from the experience of founder Brunello Acampora and his team of international designers and engineers.Bolide 80 - a full-carbon masterpiece, with custom reinforcements by Microtex and structural cores by Diab – is the first Hyper Muscle Yacht, it can travel in total comfort and safety at a cruising speed of over 55 knots with sprint speeds of up to 75 knots, powered by MAN diesel engines supplied by Ranieri & Tonissi, Victory's technological partner. A full-carbon Bolide 80, currently under in-house construction with the collaboration of Persico Marine and with the supervision of engineer Eugenio Voltolina.Bolide 170, the Human Machine Interface HMI is very well thought out, with technology partners such as Boening and Xenta. The yacht will offer easy handling even at 70 knots, which is the top speed envisaged for the version with turbines and electric motors. It is a Formula 1 range, but easy and safe to drive, achieving high performance with reduced fuel consumption per mile: by 50% compared to yachts of the same length, thanks to its technological assets. The new design of the Bolide 170 was studied by Victory's engineers, both in the multi-motor diesel version, with sprint speeds of up to 50 knots, and in a special hybrid version with four gas turbines and electric motors, capable of reaching over 70 knots.The diesel version features a light alloy hull and a carbon fiber superstructure; thanks to the modular use of the propulsion apparatus composed of six 2,200 hp MAN engines, in an unprecedented "triple staggered" geometry, two electric motors and a T-Drive by Flexitab & TS propulsion system with six surface propellers, without the installation of generators. The version with four gas turbines, on the other hand, features a composite hull and a hybrid electric apparatus with a latest-generation battery pack.The layout of the Bolide 170 consists of large open spaces designed for everyday living in osmosis with the sea and the surrounding nature.In addition to the owner's suite, there are four guest cabins and a large crew area. The generous interior spaces are designed to encourage conviviality, while meticulously preserving privacy, with dedicated pathways for the owner and his guests, respecting the needs of the crews.Architect Stefano Faggioni has teamed up with the Victory team to recreate the elegance of Italian design. At the stern, the beach club is larger than other boats of a similar size, with folding terraces, transformers, and a 'bord de mer' swimming pool that joins the one located in the bow solarium, above the tender and toys area.Brunello Acampora was founded 33 years ago and has always been engaged in R&D, which it then transfers to production. Brunello Acampora is an Italian with an Anglo-Saxon background, he studied Yacht & Boat Design at Southampton's Solent University, adheres to the concept of "total design", a vision of design as a moment of synthesis between art, science and technology in which functionality and performance go hand in hand with the elegance of shapes and with the owner's experience.Credits: Victory Design
Heesen Has Joined the Hull and Superstructure of YN 20150 Project Oslo24
On September 24, the hull and superstructure of YN 20150, code-named Oslo24 were joined, following the installation of the two MTU 8V 4000 M63 IMO III diesel engines. The owners, keen sailors, selected the Heesen hybrid propulsion system, for the silent cruising at up to 8.5 knots. “We are delighted that everything is on track with Oslo24,” says owner’s representative Stefan Zucker. “Her owners are proud and happy, having watched their yacht progress through every step of the construction so far with the closest attention. We are all looking forward to the next milestone.”Based on the design of Heesen's 50-meter steel series, with flowing lines by Clifford Denn, Project Oslo24 is the true expression of her owners' yachting knowledge and experience. Every aspect of their boat speaks of their close involvement and profound understanding of life at sea. "Working with such passionate clients who enjoy every step in the construction of their yacht is a true blessing. Their extensive knowledge and genuine interest in the technology and craftsmanship that go into their yacht are a source of inspiration for our entire team. We were delighted by their presence at the marriage of the hull and superstructure, an important step in every yacht’s build,” comments Rick van de Wetering, Heesen’s COO.Project Oslo24 is scheduled for delivery in March 2024.Heesen Yachts is a Dutch ship building company that specializes in custom-built superyachts in aluminum and steel from 30m to 70m in size. Founded in 1978, it has launched more than 170 yachts since its inception.Credits: Ruben Griffioen/Heesen Yachts
Arcadia Yachts Sherpa 80 Mabelle to Showcase at Monaco Yacht Show
Arcadia Yachts will choose the 24m Mabelle to exhibit at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show, dedicated to superyachts, in Port Hercule from September 28 to October 1. Mabelle is a refined Sherpa 80 with a custom layout and décor. Key features include the winter garden on the aft deck, a multi-function zone designed to be enjoyed at any time of year, with sliding doors and windows so that the area can be fully closed off and heated or cooled. 24 meters long and 7 meters in the beam, the Mabelle was built for a couple of Italian owners with many years’ experience in the world of sailing yachts, which is reflected in the interior decor, with its very marine atmosphere and soft colors – alternating between white and various light blues, including a dusty shade – alluding to the sober elegance of a mega sailer yet at the same time with the refined coziness of a home in the Hamptons or Maine.“Monaco is the ideal showcase for exhibiting a boat that expresses the very essence of Arcadia Yachts. This Sherpa 80 was built down to the smallest detail with the desires and tastes of the owners in mind, so that it fully reflects their personality,” commented Ugo Pellegrino, sole director of the Campania-based yard. Launched this summer on the beautiful Sorrento coast, Mabelle has four large cabins and above all offers guests over 200 sq. m of indoor and outdoor space to enjoy at any time of day, with maximum levels of comfort and breathtaking views from every deck. Watertoys and tender are stowed in the side-launching garage, meaning there is great freedom of movement in the exceptionally spacious lazarette.On the aft deck, there is a “winter garden”, a convertible space with sliding glass doors aft and on either side so that the dining area can be closed off and heated or cooled. When closed off, this dining zone forms a single area with the skylounge, which can be converted for different uses at different times of day, not least thanks to the up and down windows. The engine room houses a pair of Volvo Penta IPS 1350s, ensuring a range of over 1,200 nautical miles, a top speed of 23 knots and a cruising speed of 10 knots.Arcadia Yachts is based in Naples, Italy. Since 2008, Arcadia Yachts has been building semi-custom luxury composite yachts and has succeeded in perfectly integrating artisanal craftsmanship, modern technologies, attention to detail and to the surrounding environment. The Arcadia Yachts fleet has included two ranges since September 2016. The shipyard’s first and most characterizing range is the A range, which includes 4 models (A85, A85s, A105 and A115). The Sherpa range has a new model, the 24m Sherpa XL, which was launched at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival. Credits: Arcadia Yachts
RJ155 Explorer Sold by CDM
Italian Cantiere delle Marche has sold its largest project to date, the 45-meter RJ155 explorer. A 'pure-bred' explorer yacht, the RJ155 be­longs to the RJ se­ries of which al­ready five units have been sold. Her el­e­gant exterior lines penned by Francesco Paszkowski and combines with an ocean­go­ing ex­plorer characteristics: ro­bust­ness, sea­wor­thi­ness, long range, gen­er­ous in­te­rior ar­eas for both guests and crew, plenty of stor­age spaces.Her in­te­rior de­sign will be de­vel­oped by Achille Sal­vagni who has been en­trusted to de­sign also most of the in­te­rior loose fur­ni­ture. She spreads across three decks plus a very large sun­deck, and will be able to ac­com­mo­date up to 12 guests in five cabins, including the owner’s suite located on the main deck and four suites situated on the lower deck. She will have a dis­place­ment of around 460t while the Gross Ton­nage re­mains be­low 500GT. “We are ex­tremely sat­is­fied about the ap­peal of the RJ se­ries”, says Vasco Buon­pen­siere, Cantiere delle Marche Sales & Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor as well as one of its far-sighted founders. “We are also very honored by the con­fi­dence that an­other of our ex­ist­ing clients has put in us to de­liver such an ex­tra­or­di­nary ves­sel, which un­doubt­edly, will bring Cantiere delle Marche to an­other level. Be­ing en­trusted for the sec­ond time by such an ex­pe­ri­enced yachts­man is a source of great pride for our ship­yard and every­one will work tire­lessly to en­sure the own­ers can en­joy their new yacht as sched­uled in early 2025.”Power comes from twin Cater­pil­lar C32 Ac­ert WOSR de­liv­er­ing 895kW each at 1800-2000rpm and allowing for a top speed of 15 knots. Com­bined with fuel tanks with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 65000 liters, RJ155, as all ex­pe­di­tion yachts built by Cantiere delle Marche, will have a range of above 5000 nautical miles at 9 knots. CdM's story begins in 2010. The facilities cover an overall surface of 16˙000 square meters, including 7˙000 sq. m of workshops and 1˙000 sq. m of docks. Since 2015, the shipyard has been the world’s leading builder of explorer yachts. Based in Ancona, Cantiere delle Marche builds yachts from 26m to 43m in length.Credits: CdM