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

Twin superyacht design: 88m S/Y Lotus paired with 70m companion vessel
Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman partnered with ThirtyC design studio and Dykstra Naval Architects have introduced a 'double' superyacht concept during the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. The design concept complements the earlier revealed 88-metre sailing superyacht Lotus with a 70-metre companion vessel Lotus’ Shadow.A 'next-generation' twin project from the British design studio ThirtyC, ‘Lotus’ bridges the gap between the experience of sailing and the adventure of the motor yacht lifestyle. Designed with the combination of dual-mast DynaRig sailing yacht and rugged Support Vessel, Lotus aims at unbridled freedom for both the journey and the destination.The lightweight, high-tech 88-metre sailing yacht represents the primary vessel in this 'private armada', offering owners speed, precision sailing and the ability to cruise the world in comfort or compete in global superyacht regattas. This versatility is due to the world’s first twin-mast DynaRig structure, meaning Lotus has the potential to become one of the most technologically advanced and fastest sailing yacht of her kind on the water.Drawn with signature ThirtyC style, Lotus has been born out of collaboration with Royal Huisman and DynaRig specialists Dykstra Naval Architects. The project opts for complete customisation, open spaces, reduced complexity in terms of both rigging and crew as well as an engineering package that fits both luxury and agility on the water.Able to accommodate up to 16 guests across eight cabins and a master suite, Lotus features a 2,200 square-metre sail area and a top speed of 20 knots.As to the 70-metre support vessel Lotus’ Shadow, she is designed to prepare for the sailing yacht’s arrival at any given destination. She will be packed to the brim with toys, tenders, cars, helicopters and other items that enhance the experience of travelling the globe.The vessel is highlighted by a 1.312-square-foot space for housing tenders, toys, helicopters, cars and even a submarine upon request. Moreover, she would offer room for the crew of 18 and 8 guests across 4 cabins.The motor yacht side of the duo, the aggressively styled, futuristic and clean design of the support vessel works with the aesthetic of the sailing yacht to act as a complete package. On the water, the functionality of the support vessel also complements the lifestyle of the sailing yacht, bringing with it entourages, pilots, doctors, and any guides or team members to help make the journey more than unique.
Ferretti Group withdraws from listing on stock exchange
Italian superyacht builder Ferretti SpA has announced its withdrawal from public listing of 30% of the company’s shares on the Milan stock exchange. The decision has been altered from the earlier course on returning to the listing.The group already considered a return to the stock market back in 2008 but then the process was hindered by global financial crisis. The current change of plans is stipulated by no sufficient valuation under current market conditions, despite a number of positive applications, the company says.The first auction with the participation of Ferretti on the Milan Stock Exchange was to take place on October 21. The company planned to put up a 30% stake. However, by the end of the IPO period, which lasted first from October 1 to 10, and then prolonged until October 15.Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti SpAFerretti saw lowering of its indicative price range for shares from the initial target of €2.50 to €3.70 per share to only between €2.00 and €2.50. That said, it would have meant a market valuation of € 581 million instead of aimed €1.08 billion.Ferretti was acquired by Chinese industrial conglomerate Weichai Group in 2012. Under the Chinese management, the company succeeded to return from the crisis stage back to profit in 2017, paying off the debts through the activity of Riva and Pershing brands.Currently, Weichai Group controls 75% of the company’s stake, with 13% bought by an heir of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the iconic Italian supercar maker, in 2016.However, in the new prospective, Alberto Galassi, CEO of the company, said in 2020 a share of about 30% might be sold to some new investor from Europe, reported Reuters.For the moment, The Ferretti Group comprises eight brands: Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, CRN, Custom Line, Itama, Mochi Craft and Wally, the latest acquisition closed in April 2019. The brands portfolio is set to produce 43 models altogether. Meanwhile, the company revealed at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2019, it had received an equity injection of €250 million from Weichai Group and Piero Ferrari through F Investments.
Orignial James Bond superyacht Casino Royale on charter from EUR 65,000
If you have always dreamed of chartering genuine James-Bond-style vessel, there is a perfect value for money on charter market. The 33-metre Sunseeker Predator yacht Casino Royale that appeared in Casino Royale (2006) James Bond movie, is available for charter with Camper & Nicholsons for €65,000 (approx. $72,000) per week.The performance motor yacht from well-known Sunseeker Predator series was delivered in 2004. Casino Royale sports a navy blue hull with sweeping windows. Delivered in 2004 and refitted in 2016, Casino Royale actually featured in the 2006 James Bond movie, filmed in the Bahamas and appearing on multiple occasions.A shot from Casino Royale (2006)Casino Royale's minimal superstructure and narrow hull ensure her graceful and agile sliding on the water. With triple 16 cylinder MTU V16 2000 engines with Arneson drives, she boasts a maximum speed of 45 knots and comfortable cruising speed of 30-33 knots.The yacht’s open plan salon boasts features of larger yachts, thanks to her 2.7-metre headroom, non-typical for a yacht of her size. Immaculate and pristine, the main salon is furnished with warm woods and neutral undertones complimented with a retractable sun roof above the dining area.Aft of the main deck is a sumptuous lounging space with al fresco dining area, bar and very large sunpad. A Jacuzzi is laid forward, with a very generous space for sunbathing and lounging.On the lower deck, the yacht offers accommodation to up to eight guests across four cabins (owner’s cabin, one VIP and two twins), where each stateroom has its own en suite marble bathroom and television. Her master suite comprises a master study, a bathroom with a full-size bathtub and shower, and a walk-in wardrobe.Casino Royale's entertainment and leisure facilities comprise satellite TV system and a plethora of water toys such as a Sea Doo, stand-up paddleboards, water skis, snorkelling equipment and more.The vessel underwent extensive refit works in 2016, that cost EUR 1.5 million in total. Casino Royale is currently docked in Western Mediterranean.For other vessels spotted in movies, check our list of 10 most stunning superyachts ever featured in movies.
TOP-5 brand new gigayachts to charter in winter 2019
With superyacht charter activity smoothly transitioning from the summer period to winter 2019/2020, charter clients are going to benefit from broader vessels’ choice compared to the previous winter, thanks to the yachts launched and delivered in 2019. Yacht Harbour recalls brand new charter gigayachts not to overlook this winter.#1. MadsummerBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 95mCharter in winter: from $1,400,000 p/wThe 95-metre superyacht Madsummer is set to make her international debut at FLIBS 2019 after a recent delivery to her owner, a repeat client with Lürssen. First known as Project Fiji it took nearly 2.5 years to build her under supervision of the owner’s captain and brokerage company Moran Yacht & Ship.With a 14-metre beam, the exterior profile of Madsummer comes from a British designer Harrison Eidsgaard maintaining sleek and elegant lines within impressive volumes. The interior design aimed at up to 20 guests across 10 suites comes from drawing boards by Laura Sessa.The vessel's main trademarks are the 12-metre swimming pool and Jacuzzi laid on the aft deck, protected with glass bulwarks. Spacious beach club and spa zone with a sea terrace on the lower deck also belong on the list of Madsummer’s special features. The bow is equipped with a helipad, while the sun deck aft features hidden crane in the bulwark, able to handle an aeroboat.The superyacht is available for charter in Caribbean/Bahamas in winter.#2. TISBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 111mCharter in winter: not confirmedJust a month after her delivery, the 111.5-metre Lürssen superyacht TIS entered charter market in July 2019 asking € 2,200,000 per week via Moran. At the moment, however, she is not officially listed anymore.TIS was commissioned for a long-time charter client of Moran Yacht & Ship. The vessel boasts exterior and interior styling by UK-based design studio Winch Design and features 2 helicopter pads, a 12-metre swimming pool on the main deck aft, a resort inspired spa at beach club level, and opulent palatial staircases. TIS comes with the tender storage able to house two 13-metre tenders, two additional 10-metre tenders, a submarine and diverse watersports toys.With her impressive interior volume within a beam of 18.4 metres, TIS will accommodate up to 16 guests across a massive private owner’s deck and eight guests staterooms, served by the crew of 38. The featured top speed of the vessel makes 18 knots. #3. Flying FoxBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 136mCharter in winter: upon requestThe impressive 130-metre Lürssen superyacht Flying Fox was delivered to her owner in March 2019, later sensationally listed for charter with Imperial. The superyacht boasts the most elegant and graceful exterior design by Espen Oeino, maintaining striking looks despite her massive volume of 9,100 GT.This superyacht’s key features include two helipads, capable of hosting the largest helicopters and a generous swimming pool located aft of the main deck. Flying Fox also boasts vast sea terraces, swim platforms for watersports. She can accommodate up to 22 guests across 11 staterooms, along with a crew of 54. Flying Fox is available for charter in Indian Ocean in winter.#4. ExcellenceBuilder: Abeking & Rasmussen (2019)LOA: 80mCharter in winter: from $ 1,100,000 p/wThe sixth largest vessel of Abeking & Rasmussen, Excellence features both exteriors and interiors developed by Winch Design. Her framework relies on the same technical platform as the 81-metre Grace, featured with a 12.6-metre beam and a maximum draught of 3.5 metres.Key exterior trademark of Excellence is her striking and angular reverse bow, offering a silhouette comparable to a spaceship. Her exterior lines draw the eye to the bridge and owner’s decks surrounded by curved floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass, blurring the distinction between the upper deck and the panoramic skylounge.With accommodation capacity for 14 guests, Excellence offers a swimming pool and platform, as well as Jacuzzi and sprawling beach club and impressive limousine tenders.Excellence is available for charter in the Caribbean during winter season.#5. Syzygy 818Builder: Feadship (2019)LOA: 77.25mCharter in winter: not confirmedThe recently launched 77-metre Feadship Syzygy 818 made her international debut at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019, after successful sea trials in the North Sea and delivery. She is managed by KK Superyachts and is offered for charter. Little information has yet been revealed on the vessel. It is known, that her naval architecture is by Feadship De Voogt, exterior design is by Jamsen and interior design is by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design.With a beam of 11 metres, Syzygy 818 features a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. The word "syzygy" meanwhile is used in astrology to reference a rare event in which three or more celestial bodies line up, such as a new moon or lunar eclipse.
Wider announces new range after changing owners
Italian builder Wider Yachts has introduced its new projects during the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. The presentation came two months after the brand’s shared acquisition by Zepter Group and two more companies: the Monegasque group Nautical Hybrid Tech and Hopafi Holding Srl.Most importantly, celebrating the beginning of a new era for Wider brand, the company has announced their current flagship, a 54-metre Project Wider 180 has already been under construction, with the first cut of the hull planned for the beginning of 2020 and a delivery foreseen in February 2022.“Clean and essential lines” of the vessel have been designed by Andrea Vallicelli and C Yacht Design, creating considerably huge volumes for a yacht of her size. For instance, the beach area covers 160 square metres, offering space for sunbathing and relaxation, fitted with a seawater swimming pool, a spa and a gym. Moreover, thanks to its Floating Launching System, the area can recover a 10-metre tender making entry and exit maneuvers considerably easier for the crew when launching.Wider 180 also represents a step towards a 100% electric technology. The vessel is equipped with one main generator and an emergency one leading to a weight reduction and thus lower fuel consumption.Marcello Maggi, Wider President, claimed:I am enthusiast of this project, either for the beautiful clean modern lines either for its green soul, which is something we strongly believe in. We opened the way of the electric propulsion applied on leisure superyachts and this is the right path to cover, without looking behind.Another project revealed by the company is a 41-metre all-aluminium Wider 135. Centro Stile, Wider's exterior styling department, has focused on the model’s close connection to the sea. Wider 135’ distinctive feature is her aft that can be completely unfolded creating a 90-square-metre multi-use platform with an infinity pool in the centre, all at the water level.What is more, Wider is also currently working on other custom projects of up to 200 feet in length and on renewed versions of Wider 32 and Wider 42, to be unveiled later. The builder is going to focus rather on quality than quantity, planning to build no more than two yachts at a time.The yard has confirmed the construction of the first Wider 180 to begin in June 2020 on speculation. Meanwhile, Philip Zepter, one of the yard’s new shareholders has also announced, Wider is to be listed in the stock exchange within three years.