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
Annual revenue: $39.47 billion (2014)
Chairman & Founder: Wang Jianlin
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.
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.
Fast - © Baglietto
Annual turnaround: €2.2 billion (2012)
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.
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.
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.
Chopi Chopi © Yacht Harbour
Maximum recorded value: €1.5 billion (2007)
Current owners: Weichai Group, Royal Bank of Scotland
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.
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.
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.
Tesla is all about innovation. With the massive changes they’ve made to the automotive and space industries, they couldn’t miss out on ocean exploration. At the end of 2017, Tesla announced the yacht project, Model Y.She’s going to be the world’s first electric, self-sustaining yacht. As a luxury vessel she will feature a range of amenities and perform in complete silence. With a length of 40 meters, her exterior is sharp and interior spacious.The design will follow Tesla’s principles and the ‘outside-the-box’ strategy. She looks massive from the outside, but she will have only two decks. The lower deck will have an open space for massive parties. A spacious spa will also be added. A lounge, bar, dining room and cabins are also planned. In terms of performance, she will be fast: speed and comfort all the way. A large solar panel will charge two lithium batteries to power the vessel. The yacht's turbine will take all incoming waves and movements and transform them into energy, which is then circulated through an electrical current that powers the yacht. It’s just a matter of time before the famous Tesla logo will be seen in marinas and the open sea.
April 12, 2021
The upcoming Palma Superyacht Show (June 3–6) will be the very first European boat show to take place since October 2020. We will see the modern classic schooner Borkumriff IV built by Royal Huisman, an ultra-sleek, award-winning Massimo Verme design (35,2m Il Gattopardo), a fast and furious luxury Sunseeker (26,3m Rush X) and a timeless race-winning Wally Yacht (30,63m S/Y Alexia).Numerous first-time exhibitors are expected. Although reputable companies like Propspeed, Dinnteco and Sentio may be new to the event, they’ve certainly been around the yachting block. Their seasoned specialists can tell captains and engineers everything they need to know about the best foul-release coatings, lightning protection, and problem-solving strategies.The usual suspects that crew members and owners may want to add to their must-visit list include all-rounders Hill Robinson, yacht lighting specialists Applelec Marine and A2B Marine Projects.James Brill, one of A2B Marine Projects’ skilled consultants, said the team members “are very much looking forward to being able to participate in this year’s Palma Superyacht Show. After a year full of conference calls, it will be a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet people in person again. We hope to see a lot of familiar and new faces at the show".Applelec Marine's International Project Director Darren Thrower is of the same mind, saying that the show is a "great opportunity to show existing and prospective clients our illumination products – and in the flesh at last!"Loyal exhibitors like Astilleros de Mallorca, the IPM Group, Nautipaints, and Port Adriano were quick to secure their stand for the 2021 edition, just as they’ve done every year since the show’s 2013 inception.We can’t wait to join. Credits: Palma Superyacht Show
April 12, 2021
The Feadship's newest superyacht was pictured on her way to the sea trials.The 55m Somnium was launched earlier this month and is designed for an experienced Northern European owner.With the design made by Studio De Voogt and a cosy interior from FM Architettura, Somnium soon will go for adventure.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/Facebook
April 12, 2021
The 85m explorer yacht Victorious has been launched at the AK Yachts facility in Turkey. This explorer, whose building process had been postponed for 14 years, can accommodate up to twenty guests in ten cabins and has a 200-square-meter beach club, gym, hammam and massage room. Powered by two Caterpillar (3512B) 1,495hp diesel engines, Victorious is capable of a top speed of 15 knots and cruises comfortably at 13 knots. Her interior was designed by the famous H2 Yacht Design (UK), andJonny Horsfield, the company’s founder noted “From starting a project to delivering some drawings and information to the shipyard could take 12 months on a normal build… we had to redesign the whole boat in three or four months.” AK Yachts was founded in 2017 in Turkey. Their main focus is building exceptional quality yachts with uncompromised value. Credits: H2 Yacht Design
April 9, 2021
Ocean Eco 90 Explorer is solar-assisted electric long-range cruiser with the added feature of extra space on the upper deck. At 27.5m, this yacht has an impressive 14m beam; the lower deck houses four cabins for guests and three for the crew.Her estimated cruising speed is 8–10 knots and top speed is 16–18 knots. See new images of the interior below.OE 90 main saloonOE 90 main saloon OE 90 master cabin OE 90 master cabinOE 90 master cabin at nightAlva Yachts was founded in Germany in early 2020 by Mathias May and Holger Henn. It was built on the former PICA yachts, which has launched more than 40 boats. Credits: Alva Yachts
April 9, 2021