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

47m Atina Arrived at the FDC Yachts Shipyard for Major Refit
The Turkish FDC Yachts has welcomed the 47m yacht Atina, who arrived at the shipyard for a major refit. Atina (previously known as Naseem) was built by Heesen in 2008, she has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. She features the exterior and naval architecture by Heesen and the interior by Bannenberg & Rowell Design.The yacht was sold in June 2021After handover by her new owner, major refit work orders were decided and started to be carried out in late 2021. The interior and exterior will be updated by Red Yacht Design, who have worked with the FDC Yachts and the owner. The exterior by Red Yacht DesignA main work order will be focused on Atina’s deck spaces; she will get a totally new flybridge with new GA including an up-to-date navigation mast and hardtop. All sitting groups and living areas to be redesigned by the owner and renewed. The sundeck will get a 12-seated bar and a barbecue area, which makes it suitable for big outdoor parties. Exterior hull including superstructure to be repainted with new colors. Subconstructional upgrades to be carried out in the engine room with maintaining valves and piping. New beach deck to be manufactured and installed on aft.The tender garage will become a beach club with a gym. The pool, which is located at the front, will also be expanded. Some interior touch ups to be carried out in the cabins. She is targeted to be launched in May 2022 by FDC Yachts.Credits: FDC Yachts, Red Yacht Design, Yacht Harbour archive
The New Riva Privée Opens In Cortina D’Ampezzo
In 2022 Riva celebrates its 180th anniversary and opens the new location of an elegant Riva Privée at the Cristallo, Luxury Collection Resort & SPA. Like an aquamarine gemstone set amidst the majestic snow-covered peaks of the Dolomites, a Unesco World Heritage site, the new Riva space embraces the cultural heritage and art nouveau-inspired architecture of Hotel Cristallo. The Riva Privée at the Cristallo is a temporary space that will welcome guests in the Stube 1872, the famed restaurant where chef Marco Pinelli has created a special Riva menu ranging from traditional Cortina d’Ampezzo cuisine to flavours evoking the sea. In keeping with the guiding philosophy of “Riva inside, inside Riva”, the initiative again renews the Riva Destination format that has already been a great success in other go-to destinations, including Paris, Venice, Opatija, Monaco, Mykonos and Formentera. Recent Riva Destination openings worldwide include: the Riva Privée in Ischia, at the Ristorante Daní Maison, whose culinary excellence is assured by Michelin-star chef Nino Di Costanzo; the Riva Lounge and Privée at the Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa in Opatija (Croatia), and the Riva Privée at the Molo47 restaurant on Formentera, the most glamorous of the Balearic Islands.The Ferretti Group, led by Chief Executive Officer Alberto Galassi, is now one of the world’s leaders in the construction and sale of luxury yachts and pleasure vessels, with a unique portfolio of brands: Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, Itama, Mochi Craft, CRN, Custom Line and Wally.Credits: Ferretti Group
71m Unique 71 Revealed by SkyStyle and Denison Yachting
The design studio SkyStyle has united with Denison Yachting and presented the yacht concept Unique 71 to the market. The 71m vessel became the first yacht concept for the design studio, previously was known for aircraft interiors. Project Unique 71 is intended for cruising oceans in style and speed. Her futuristic profile and a 13-meter beam embrace sporty characteristics, such as a sharp, pointed bow and three-dimensional surfaces. Other notable features onboard the yacht include a sky lounge sundeck, a hot tub, a touch-and-go helipad, a gym, sauna, 12-seat theater, a billiard/bar room and a plunge pool with an automatic cover.The superyacht can accommodate up to 12 guests, including four comfortable cabins, one VIP suite, and one owner’s master stateroom. The owner’s deck is designed with an illuminated ceiling that can also be set to automatically open for an ocean breeze.“With Denison presenting this groundbreaking design, it allows a client to approach multiple shipyards to gather quotes to help develop and make this project a reality without being tied to a particular yard. The challenge is to find a shipyard that can understand this vision and the client’s goals – both as an individual and in their business/personal use of the yacht,” says Alex G. Clarke from Dension. The yacht’s interior is optimized to connect with the environment thanks to the generous transparent surfaces surrounding the social areas. The opacity of the glass panels that flank the yacht can be regulated to define the mood or increase privacy or transparency.She will be able to reach a top speed of 30 knots and cruise comfortably at 25 knots. SkyStyle is a design studio based in the U.S., Spain, and Argentina that’s focused on advanced aviation conceptual design. Lead designers Lucas Colombo and Max Pardo have worked with aviation giants such as Boeing to test the boundaries of what’s possible in an aircraft cabin. Today, Lucas and Max are using their aviation design skills to break into the yachting industry. Credits: Denison Yachting
27m FD90 Launched by Horizon Yachts
Horizon Yachts has launched a new build Horizon FD90. The interior and exterior of the 22nd hull of the successful FD series was penned by Cor D. Rover Design. The wide beam and high-volume interior that defines the Cor D. Rover-designed Fast Displacement (FD) Series, the new FD90 greets visitors with an expansive aft deck. This four-stateroom yacht has a contemporary interior with an on-deck master, a convertible VIP on the lower deck and a spacious beach club. Satin walnut, black glass and black lacquer finishes highlight the loft-like main salon, whose volume is amplified by floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable, custom low-profile furniture including a large sofa with built-in storage. Specified with high-end equipment throughout, this FD90 is the first Horizon model to be equipped with the JUNG automation system, which allows the owner to control lighting, window treatments, audio and A/C via phone or iPad devices. The full-beam master stateroom is located on the main deck, and offers plentiful wardrobe space as well as a built-in leather loveseat under the window to starboard. The spacious ensuite features a full-length smart glass wall for privacy when desired.The new FD90 features a fully equipped beach club with a bar and a lounge settee that converts into a bed.<iframe width=560 height=315 src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/wn2fA0-D6og title=YouTube video player frameborder=0 allow=accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture allowfullscreen></iframe>Founded in 1987, Horizon Yachts has celebrated 35 years as one of the largest luxury yacht builders in the world as well as the number one builder in the Asia Pacific region. In the past three decades, Horizon has delivered over 855 luxury yachts, with more than 220 of these over 80 feet in length. Popular models ranging from 52 to 150 feet include motor yachts, superyachts, power catamarans, expedition yachts, and fast displacement motor yachts.Credits: Horizon Yachts
Gulf Craft Marks Two Decades of Presence in the Maldives
Gulf Craft is marking 20 years of its operation in the Maldives. Gulf Craft provides almost 80% of the Maldives’s water transportation services which includes public transport, coast guard, emergency and ambulance services, resorts, and leisure boats. With a strong and established presence in the country, Gulf Craft is now developing a new production facility dedicated to the manufacturing of vessels for use in the Indian Ocean which will see its operations and production capacity double within 16 months.Gulf Craft established its operations in the Maldives with a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility that has produced top-quality pleasure boats and rapid transport vessels. Gulf Craft is now focusing on further expansion of its operations in the Maldives to support the government’s strategy to strengthen the tourism sector. This will be driven by doubling its production capacity in the country and by giving back to the community through the new training facility for captains and crew.In early 2021 the shipyard was awarded a government contract, thru MTCC, to manufacture a fleet of specially designed high-quality speed boats for use across the Integrated National Public Ferry Network. The new speed boats will offer a convenient and efficient transportation system to all administrative islands of the Maldives, with capabilities to transport up to 53 passengers at a time and will connect the capital city to nearby islands. The public transportation project is one of the largest government initiatives and will contribute to connecting the various islands of the Maldives upon completion.Gulf Craft team in the Maldives“The Maldives is our first international destination, where we have built in-country competencies by leveraging the opportunities that the country provides for the marine and tourism sector. With the doubling of our production capacity and the new training facility we hope to serve the local community even better through the creation of new job opportunities and in further boosting tourism,” said Mohammed Hussein Alshaali, Gulf Craft’s Chairman. Last year Gulf Craft announced that it will invest in a strategic development in the Maldives named ‘Gulf Lagoon’. The project will feature a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, a marina for seafarers and live-aboards, a maritime school offering captain/crew training for young Maldivians, and a resort, among others.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 its modest premises, which was a genuine passion for Gulf Craft, they then established their credentials as a leader of innovation and technology in the yachting industry. With five brands in their 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