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.
Sunreef Yachts is embarking on a significant industrial expansion with the development of a new manufacturing facility in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.The company, which already operates two shipyards in Gdansk, Poland, totaling over 125,000m² of industrial surface, is venturing into new territory with a 65,000m² land reserve in Ras Al Khaimah.Sunreef Yachts is collaborating with RAK Maritime City to bring this ambitious project to fruition. The facility will offer a comprehensive approach to yacht manufacturing, featuring modern paint shops, carpentry, upholstery, and stainless steel workshops equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and robotics.Choosing Ras Al Khaimah as the site for expansion was a strategic decision for Sunreef Yachts. The region's strategic location, skilled workforce, and industry-friendly environment make it an ideal choice for the company. Francis Lapp, the Founder and President of Sunreef Yachts, expressed gratitude to the RAK Government and RMC management for their support in realizing this vision.Munira Lapp, Director of Sunreef Yachts Middle East, highlighted the collaborative efforts between the Ras Al Khaimah shipyard and the company's Dubai office. Together, they aim to establish a yachting think tank that anticipates trends and shapes the future of the industry with innovative solutions.This expansion marks an important milestone in Sunreef Yachts' global strategy. It not only strengthens the company's presence in the Middle East but also enhances its connectivity with the Asian and Australian markets. With manufacturing sites in Poland and the emerging facility in Ras Al Khaimah, Sunreef Yachts is poised to extend its reach for its range of sustainable catamarans. The new facility will initially focus on producing hybrid ULTIMA catamarans, as well as power and sail yachts ranging from 50 to 70 feet, showcasing the company's commitment to eco-responsible yachting.Sunreef Yachts was founded by Francis Lapp in 2002 in Gdansk, Poland. Since then, the shipyard has been designing and manufacturing luxury sailing and power multihulls. Credits: Sunreef Yachts
March 1, 2024
Dutch builder Moonen Yachts has successfully launched Lumière, a new 37.8m Martinique at the Moonen yard in the Netherlands. The yacht was customized to suit the owners’ tastes and use of the yacht with an extended sun deck and large hot tub pool, an extended swim platform and a bespoke interior design created in collaboration with Studio Indigo.The award-winning Martinique design by Dutch designer René van der Velden allows natural light in, offers spectacular views out, and creates seamless indoor-outdoor connections. An almost continuous band of panoramic windows wraps around both the main and bridge decks.“We are incredibly proud to see Lumière successfully launched,” says Moonen Yachts Technical Director Nicky van Zon. “We can’t wait to see her glimmer in the Mediterranean sunlight. Lumière will be the most exquisite way to experience all the beautiful worldwide destinations her owners will take her to.” The steel and aluminum Martinique has a maximum speed of 17 knots and long-range transatlantic capability. Moonen will complete final outfitting and commissioning of Lumière with her crew during the coming months. Lumière is the fifth yacht from Moonen’s premium semi-custom Martinique design.The yacht will be delivered to her Australian owners before the summer and is expected to spend her first season in the Mediterranean. Moonen Yachts is a yacht builder based in the Netherlands, and its first yacht was built in 1964 under the original yard name of De Ruiter. In 1981, the yard was renamed Moonen Shipyards. It’s launching its first vessel under new ownership: Alhena. In 2017 Moonen Shipyards changed into Moonen Yachts. With the help of strong vision, innovative technology and new designers, Moonen is once again becoming the market leader in 30m to 50m luxury yachts.Credits: Moonen Yachts
March 1, 2024
Westport Yachts is nearing the delivery of its latest creation, the W117, a 35.8-meter raised pilothouse yacht. The milestone in construction was reached as the hull and superstructure were joined.Commencing construction in 2022, after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the W117 was crafted using advanced technology akin to that utilized in the aviation industry. Featuring an exterior finished in "Snow White" with black metallic superstructure accents, the W117 promises a sleek and sophisticated appearance.Accommodations onboard will cater to 10 guests across five ensuite cabins, complemented by quarters for a crew of five, including the captain. Noteworthy features include a master cabin on the main deck, offering luxurious amenities such as a his-and-hers bathroom and a backlit Majelite headboard.Interior renderings depict a tasteful color scheme of whites and greys adorned with leather and vinyl accents, providing a neutral canvas for owners to customize to their preferences. Premium woods like mahogany and pomelle sapele will be utilized throughout, ensuring a high level of craftsmanship.The main deck saloon, characterized by its expansive layout, offers a sense of openness and spaciousness, with the option for semi-al fresco dining. Additional amenities include a beach club bar and a flybridge equipped with a centerline hot tub, settees, barbecue, and bar.Propelled by twin Caterpillar C32 engines, the W117 will boast impressive performance capabilities, with a top speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 20 knots. Its shallow draft of 1.9 meters will enable navigation in shallow bays and anchorages, making it well-suited for destinations like the Bahamas and the Caribbean.Enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience the W117 firsthand at the 2024 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.The largest builder in North America, Westport was founded in 1964. Westport Yachts has built and launched a wide variety of vessels, from commercial fishing boats and fast passenger ferries to luxurious motor yachts. Today Westport builds composite motor yachts.Credit: Westport Yachts
March 1, 2024
Dutch builder Moonen Yachts has completed the marriage of its latest 37.4m Moonen 122 Martinique’s steel hull and aluminum superstructure. The major construction milestone took place at the Dutch yacht builder’s shipyard. Martinique YN205 will be the seventh yacht of the premium semi-custom Martinique design.The Martinique stands out with long-range steel-hull capability combined with refined design, Dutch quality and a custom interior design. With an impressive 345GT volume and high ceilings, the Martinique offers amazing views through its panoramic windows wrapping around both the main and bridge decks. The comfort and refinement of the interior design are matched by the Martinique’s exceptionally quiet and still performance. The proven very low noise and vibrations levels ensure comfortable journeys and restful nights at anchor.The Martinique is a fast displacement, long-range ship built from High Tensile Steel and aluminum. She has a top speed of 17 knots and 4000-mile transatlantic range.Moonen Yachts also recently revealed Martinique YN205’s interior design concepts. See the Moonen website for details.The yacht, Martinique YN205, is available for sale and scheduled for completion in April 2025.Moonen Yachts is a yacht builder based in the Netherlands, and its first yacht was built in 1964 under the original yard name of De Ruiter. In 1981, the yard was renamed Moonen Shipyards. It’s launching its first vessel under new ownership: Alhena. In 2017 Moonen Shipyards changed into Moonen Yachts. With the help of strong vision, innovative technology and new designers, Moonen is once again becoming the market leader in 30m to 50m luxury yachts.Credits: Moonen Yachts
February 29, 2024
In the ever-evolving world of luxury yachts, innovation knows no bounds. Design Storz, the Austrian design studio renowned for its boundary-pushing creations, has unveiled Skia, a visionary 109-meter superyacht concept that takes extravagance to new heights.At the heart of Skia's design are three breathtaking glass pools that cascade across three expansive decks, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle. But Skia offers much more than just stunning swimming spots.Drawing inspiration from his extensive experience in designing Formula 1 race cars, Achim Storz has crafted Skia's exterior with precision and flair. The sleek lines and dynamic profile exude a sense of modernity and sophistication, while the two-tone paint job adds a touch of sporty elegance."The long character lines and splines, which emerged from our first sketches, are key as they balance both light and shadow to create a state-of-the-art sculpture on water," Storz explained.While the graphic elements on the hull and superstructure take cues from sportswear, the overall design ethos remains rooted in luxury and performance.Onboard, Skia boasts an array of luxurious amenities, including a touch-and-go helipad on the foredeck, a spacious aft beach club with fold-out terraces, and a retractable swim platform at the stern. The yacht also features a well-appointed gym and a lavish spa complete with a hot tub, sauna, and direct access to the water.Inside, the open-plan layout exudes a sense of fluidity and freedom, with high ceilings, expansive windows, and contemporary decor enhancing the feeling of spaciousness. While interior renders have yet to be released, Design Storz promises a design that seamlessly blends elegance with functionality.With accommodations for up to 14 guests and a crew of 30, Skia offers unparalleled comfort and hospitality. From its striking exterior to its luxurious interiors, Skia represents the pinnacle of superyacht design and innovation.As the yachting industry continues to push the boundaries of luxury and extravagance, Skia stands as a testament to the endless possibilities of design and engineering. Whether cruising the open seas or lounging in one of its glass pools, Skia promises an unparalleled experience for discerning yacht enthusiasts around the world.Credits: Design Storz
February 29, 2024