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

49-metre Flying Dagger launched by Rossinavi
The 49-metre superyacht Flying Dagger was launched in Viareggio on April 21 by Rossinavi. Previously known as Project FR036, Flying Dagger was sold in May 2016. This aluminium motor yacht boasts interior and exterior design by Enrico Gobbi at Team For Design. The design focuses on minimizing noise emissions to give greater comfort during crusing and wide windows and skylights to allow natural light to flood into the interior and offer guests superb panoramic views.<iframe width="632" height="356" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hq64kID18Uk" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>Guest accommodation is divided on two decks, with the full beam owner’s suite on the main deck forward, and 4 double suites located on the lower deck. As Flying Dagger was built for speed, she will reach a maximum speed of 27 knots, fitted with three 2,600hp MTU engines and three KaMeWa waterjets. With a cruising speed of 23 knots and her range will be 3,300 nautical miles at 12 knots. The aft tender garage is complemented by a foredeck Jet Ski locker.
Mediterranean Yacht Show 2018
Founded by the GYA (Greek Yachting Association), the Mediterranean Yacht Show was set back in 2014. Now it's the 5th edition of the show and ever since its premiere, the show has taken place in the historic Greek town of Nafplio. The industry-only event, taking place from April 28th to May 1st, it brings together yachts, ranging from motor and sailing yachts to gulets and catamarans. This year’s charter fleet will consist of nearly 90 vessels, from small cruisers to large superyachts.Industry professionals are given the opportunity to meet the yacht crews, explore some new models and refits of the yacht already on the market. There will be a variety of networking events and social programme for show-goers, such as Chef’s Competition, where the region’s top yacht chefs will battle in front of judges. The Mediterranean Yacht Show shows the recovery of the Greek tourism industry. Now more than 100 superyachts and 300 visitors are expected to attend each year.Top 5 largest yachts attending the Mediterranean Yacht Show :1. Capri I (58.6 m, 2003, Lurssen, refit in 2012)Available for charter through Fraser Yachts starting from €280000 per week.2. O'Natalina (56 m, 1985, Pichiotti, refit in 2017)Available for charter through Atalanta Golden Yachts starting from €130000 per week. 3. Pegasus (53 m, 1995, Feadship, refit in 2009)Available for charter through Athens Yachts starting from €27850 per week.4. Marla (50 metre, 1999, Amels, refit in 2015)Available for charter through Seascape Yacht Charters from €185000 per week.5. Ouranos (50 m, 2016, Admiral Yachts)Available for charter through IYC from €210000 per week.The full list of yachts attending the show is here.
190-metre ultra-luxury cruise ship by Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has announced itineraries and shore excursions for its Luxury Yacht Collection. Three luxury cruising yachts are scheduled to sail in 2020. Ritz-Carlton will start taking reservation from May 21 from its loyalty members and those of its parent company Marriott International. The very first voyage will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Feb. 1, 2020, for a 8-night cruise in the Caribbean. The yacht will travel to Bimini, Bahamas, and Key West, Florida, before returning to Fort Lauderdale.In its inaugural season, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer 40 different voyages, most ranging from 7 to 10 nights. Number of experiences will be available, such as visiting a renowned winery in Bordeaux, France, learning how baby oysters are grown in a private farm in Sete, France or even emeeting with a spiritual shaman in the Grenadines. The shore excursions will be grouped into five categories: Iconic Sights (art and culture); Stirring the Senses (wellness); Cultural Connections (wild life); Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences. The trips “illustrate our commitment to providing rare opportunities to today’s luxury traveler,” said Lisa Holladay, global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton, in a statement.The unique designed yachts will measure 190 meters, with 149 suites accommodating up to 298 passengers, which is more like superyacht than an actual cruise ship. Each stateroom has its own private terrace. The yachts will also feature two 158-square-meter penthouses, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. Prices have not yet been released.
U.S. blocked from seizing $250 million 91.5-metre superyacht Equanimity
Equanimity is 91.5-metre yacht built by Oceanco and delivered in 2014. Her owner is Malaysian financier, Jho Low. Previously, Equanimity was seized by the request of the US Government and then was in the spotlight of the US Government. Recently, an Indonesian court blocked U.S. efforts control a $250 million yacht connected to fraud scandal, on the basis that its arrest off the resort island of Bali was invalid and saying the vessel should be returned to its owner. The U.S. Justice Department contends that the Equanimity was acquired with money stolen in fraudulent schemes linked to the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The Indonesian judge said that the seizure of the yacht in Bali by Indonesian police acting at the request of U.S. authorities was “invalid and legally baseless.” The judge ruled the seizure was invalid on a technicality. He said the U.S. request didn’t follow a 2006 law on mutual legal assistance because it didn’t go to the Justice Ministry, but directly to police. The ruling can’t be appealed.Equanimity is owned by a trust that is controlled by a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, who the Justice Department alleges is a central player in a $4.5 billion fraud that involved siphoning money from 1MDB. The fund was set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 and is the focus of investigations in half a dozen countries. Both 1MDB and Mr. Najib have denied wrongdoing and said they would cooperate with any lawful international investigation. Multiple investigations in Malaysia into 1MDB closed without finding wrongdoing. Indonesian police said they accept the verdict and will soon turn over the 300-foot, Cayman Islands-flagged vessel to its owner, Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta referred queries to the Justice Department. The department didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Yacht Harbour, a spokeswoman for Equanimity's owner said:"Claimants, the owners of Equanimity, welcome the Indonesian court's ruling, which upholds the rule of law and confirms that the FBI-instigated seizure of the vessel was improper and unlawful. The incident is yet another example of the unjustified global overreach by the U.S. Government, which has gone to extreme and improper lengths to seize assets around the world while steadfastly avoiding having to prove that there are any merits to its case."Indonesian police came aboard the Equanimity in Bali on Feb. 28 after the vessel had cruised Southeast Asian waters for months. FBI agents and Indonesian police searched the vessel and its computers and interrogated crew members. The boat has stayed in Bali with a crew on board while the case moved through the courts. Lawyers for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. said that the seizure didn’t follow Indonesian law on providing mutual assistance to foreign law-enforcement agencies. The U.S. has sought via civil lawsuits in California, since mid-2016, to seize almost $2 billion in assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB, including mansions, a Bombardier jet and royalties from the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The Equanimity is the largest single asset. The U.S. has asserted in court filings that U.S. laws were broken in the larger 1MDB case, and that gives it rights to those assets. The Justice Department had hoped to quickly transport the boat to the U.S. to sell. In the U.S., the government has filed a civil asset forfeiture case against the Equanimity, which means that the asset cannot be sold until the case is resolved. To take possession of the boat, the government has to prove it was bought with stolen money. All asset forfeitures tied to the 1MDB case are technically on hold, because the government asked for a temporary stay on all 17 cases while it completes a parallel criminal investigation into 1MDB affair and all dealings related.
23.47-metre military-designed Tactical 77 yacht project sold
Tactical 77 is 23.47-metre new-build project recently sold to American client by Canadian yard Tactical Custom Boats. With unique hull shape design, aggressive pseudo-military exterior styling and luxurious accommodations inside by American studio Bill Prince Yacht Design, this go-anywhere all-aluminium yacht will be built at Tactical’s shipyard in British Columbia, focusing on speed and comfort. Key features will include gyroscopic stabilisers, a folding transom that allows superyacht water toys launch without the davit crane, the most modern electronics and lightweight carbon fibre in the interior. Tactical Custom Boats is a brand of Platinum Marine and Crescent Custom Yachts, specializing in high performance aluminum boats designed for speed, comfort, and safety in all operating conditions . Tactical 77 is due to be delivered in 2019.