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

84-metre trimaran White Rabbit by Echo Yachts revealed
Australian custom Superyacht builder Echo Yachts have proudly revealed their 84m superyacht newbuild project White Rabbit during an exclusive VIP event at their shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.White Rabbit is 100% custom designed and built according to its experienced Owners exacting requirements and is the culmination of 4 years of detailed design and construction efforts by the team involved. At nearly 3000 gross tonnes, 84m in length and 19.6m beam, White Rabbit is largest superyacht built in Australia as is the largest aluminium and largest tri-hull superyacht in the world.Designed by Sorgiovanni Design, White Rabbit showcases the highest standards of luxury cruising and will provide amazing seakeeping, speed and fuel efficiency for a vessel of its size and magnitude. Echo Yachts celebrated the reveal of White Rabbit in style during the exclusive reveal function featuring an evening of VIP speeches, video documentary of the build, plus an evocative and memorable sound and light show including special guest and cellist Ms Joanna Quail of London.Guests were provided the rare opportunity to step onboard and view some of the expansive exterior entertaining spaces and enormous luxury interior spaces thanks to the hospitality of White Rabbit’s owner and family who were in attendance for the special event. Echo Yachts director Mark Stothard: “The Echo Yachts team are extremely proud to have been entrusted to create this truly unique and amazing superyacht for our valued client and it has been a pleasure to achieve such a fantastic result together with Sorgiovanni Design, One2Three Naval architects and ALIA Interiors.The enormous trimaran hull form and refined styling of White Rabbit create a profound and immediate Wow Factor that no other hull form can quite achieve. We are confident that this unique Trimaran will produce outstanding performance and provide distinct benefits compared to other hull forms in terms of shear guest space, plus sea keeping and fuel efficiency which we intend to prove during sea trials in the near future.Our team are really looking forward to launching White Rabbit and demonstrating the amazing benefits and performance characteristics this special type of yacht delivers”. Final preparations are now underway for the launch of White Rabbit in early September. Echo Yachts will be attending this year’s Monaco Yacht Show and available for appointments to discuss newbuild and refit opportunities, with immediate build capacity available.
Schooners on parallel tracks for their Huisfits
Two of the world’s largest sailing yachts, Eos and Athena, have booked the same timing for their coming refit projects.The 93-metre three-masted Lürssen schooner Eos, until recently the world’s largest sailing yacht, has for some time been a regular customer for Royal Huisman’s superyacht refit division, Huisfit. The Eos team has just signed a new contract with Huisfit, taking full advantage of the flexible choice of deep water location offered to meet their needs and schedule.At the same time, the Huisfit team is delighted to announce that the 90-metre three masted schooner Athena, built by Royal Huisman in 2004 and with a seriously impressive log book of globe-circling adventures, has booked the same timing for her latest refit programme. In 2014 the Huisfit team also took care of various aesthetic and technical updates by sending its own ’flying squad’ of specialist personnel out to Athena during a stopover in the Mediterranean.Athena arrived on 6th of August and Eos is expected later this summer. Both yachts will be at a deep seawater location in Holland for several months during the winter “refit season”.
Exclusive : 111-metre superyacht project TIS
German shipbuilder Lurssen launched their first superyacht in the year 2018 in Rendsburg - 111-metre project TIS. Next, she will be outfitted, before her sea trials. This massive volume yacht, Project TIS was commissioned for a long-time charter client of Moran Yacht & Ship, who has over the past seven years, chartered some of the largest and highest quality motor yachts in the world. This experience has led to owner input on nearly every level, from guest accommodations to propulsion package selection, all the way to crew area design.With an interior and exterior styling by Andrew Winch Design, Project TIS will feature 2 helicopter pads, a 12 meter swimming pool, a resort inspired spa in the aft of the vessel, and palatial staircases that to date have only been seen in palaces. Her tender garage will accommodate 2 13 meter tenders, 2 additional 10 meter tenders, a submarine, and a abundant selection of other water toys. Lack of space will not be an issue for this family-oriented owner. In addition to a massive private owner’s deck, eleven other guests staterooms will accommodate twenty-two additional guests in absolute comfort.TIS is expected to be delivered later this year.All photos by Klaus Jordan.
Two beautiful Van Der Valks on show in Cannes
With just a couple of weeks to go before the Cannes Yachting Festival opens its doors on 11 September, the Van Der Valk team is very much looking forward to this fantastic boat show.After the success of last years, we’re delighted to present two members of the Van Der Valk fleet. The 27M Explorer "Seawolf Explorer" will be on display on the Super Yacht Extension at berth number SYE035. We will also have a dedicated lounge tent next to the yachts at SYE220, ready to welcome you and discuss how Van Der Valk might be of service. Furthermore we will display 25M Raised Pilothouse "Jangada" at the brokerage section in Port Canto.Both these superyachts have distinctive designs and showcase the many options available at Van Der Valk. We look forward to meeting you in Cannes any time from Tuesday 11 September to Sunday 16 September.
54-metre superyacht Mischief for sale
54-metre superyacht Mischief was launched in 2006 by Italian shipyard Baglietto and was regularly refitted, with the latest in 2018. With newly painted French Navy hull and white boot stripes, her racy lines cuts a sleek form on the water. Her interiors are just as special - the dramatic use of white reflective surfaces accented with blues and blacks gives her a real sense of identity. Large photographs of stars of the screen, music and fashion add to the relaxed, fun feel.Mischief accommodates 12 guests in 6 cabins including a luxurious full-beam master suite, 3 VIP double guest cabins and 2 twin guest cabins. Timeless styling, beautiful furnishings and sumptuous seating feature throughout her living areas to create an elegant and comfortable atmosphere. Her crew quarters are for 14 people. The spaces are fashion-forward rather than formal, inviting relaxation and enjoyment. The main salon features a large marble bar, with back-lit mirrored wine and glass racks - a theme found in two further wine stores within the cabins. The upper deck sky lounge is yet another bright white space, with curving glass bays inviting you out to the dining and eating areas on the aft deck. One of the VIP cabins also enjoys this vantage point. The full master suite lies forward on the main deck, with two further large doubles and smaller twins on the lower deck. These twin rooms would be great for children - and with beam all the entertainment on offer they’ll barely spend any time in their cabins - or get up to Mischief! The twin cabins aslo convert to super kings in the case there may be a full group of adult couples on board. Mischief's impressive leisure and entertainment facilities make her ideal yacht for socialising and entertaining with family and friends, as well as a good option for charter. She boasts sundeck gym equipment, eight-person Sienna SPA Pool, state of the art audiovisual equipment, extensive water toys including a Jet Skis, Jetlev, flyboard, fishing gear, Seabobs and Paddleboards. The inflatable slide lets you slip off the bow, then you can to climb back up via the over-water climbing wall or take to the floating pontoons from the stern where you can relax on loungers right on the water.She features an ultra-modern stabilization system that reduces roll motion effect and ensure the ultimate comfort throughout the cruise. With a cruising speed of 17 knots, a maximum speed of 15 knots and a range of 4,500nm from her 90,000-litre fuel tanks, she is the perfect combination of performance and luxury.Mischief underwent an extensive 2015/2016 refit which included new carpets, new furniture and TVS throughout, deck updates and installation of the latest in AV technology. Her refit in 2017 saw her addition of a stunning new cocktail bar and a 3x2m video wall in the main salon. And most recently, in 2018, Mischief had it latest refit. Mischief is asking € 24,000,000.