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

Haute Couture: eccentric design of Roberto Cavalli’s superyacht Freedom
Launched in 2018 by Cerri Cantieri Navali, the 28-metre yacht Freedom belongs to a renowned Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, the founder and former Creative Director at an eponymous company. Despite reported financial difficulties the popular brand currently struggles with, as they closed their US stores, preparing to liquidate its North American operations as of March 2019, Cavalli’s net worth is estimated at $ 500 Million by CelebrityNetWorth.Freedom was launched as a fully-custom design by Cavalli himself in cooperation with his friend and fellow designer Tommaso Spadolini, who had also worked on Cavalli’s first yacht, 41m Baglietto RC. According to media, ‘Design me something that Batman would drive!’ were the seven words the Freedom concept was born from.This time, the owner was looking for something bold, unique and dramatic. As a result, the exterior styling features two sweeping arches framing the aft cockpit, and a metallic black hull and dark grey superstructure. The hull was painted with an iridescent livery that changes colour depending on the direction of the sun rays. Freedom was conceived for private cruising with Cavalli’s partner, three crew members and up to four guests within two cabins, including the master suite. Cavalli can enjoy his main-deck owner's cabin laid right behind the pilothouse, as he is keen to drive the yacht himself. The central skylight and four large windows allow for constant sea-view and plenty of natural light throughout the yacht. The main deck was designed with four slope steps allowing for the beach area and the main lounge appearing as continuous space close to the water. The yacht's tender is stored forward on the main-deck, positioned so to not disrupt the full walk-around deck and outdoor lounge areas.The yacht is trademarked with a low aft deck cockpit featuring sliding glass doors on three sides. Lowering the deck height was quite the feat of engineering, but Spadolini felt it was necessary to maintain the nautical contact that Cavalli had requested.Aiming for utmost privacy, Spadolini made the owner’s suite accessible only by a staircase from the main salon, that also serves as a private lounge when there are no guests on board.The yacht’s bespoke interior concept is trademarked with animal-skin prints for the upholdtery, golden details, strass-covered surfaces and lavish embroidery, reflecting the owner’s strong personality and distinctive features od the Cavalli brand. As a designer, Cavalli preferred to select all the materials, finishes and accessories for the interior himself. Performance wise, Freedom will be capable of reaching a top speed of 40 knots thanks to 3 Rolls-Royce water-jet engines. For other yachts by famous designers, check the 65-metre Giorgio Armani's Main and 50-metre Regina d'Italia Dolce and Gabbana.
Baglietto presents 43m sportfisherman explorer
Italian shipyard Baglietto has presented 43 m Baglietto Explorer designed by the Italian firm Santa Maria Magnolfi. The vessel was conceived with a view to create a real Explorer Yacht, inspired by work boats, that of warships and, obviously, the world of yachting.The concept represents a modified version of earlier presented project with a helipad. This version is rather designed for an owner who favours fishing or sailing with a small boat. Those ideas have been worked out to satisfy different requests.The yacht will be trademarked with a 58-square-metre upper deck entirely reserved for the owner. Access to the entrance salon may be open to everyone or limited. Furthermore, this version would hosts outside on this deck a 28’ sportfisherman boat as well as a 6-metre rescue tender, besides the enlarged dining area for 12 people. A panoramic area with sofa and table has been placed in the bow area.On the main deck, the large full-beam salon features an almost square layout and has ceiling-high windows on the bulwarks. The aft zone has been redesigned for open back space and a cosy conversation area in the shadow with a panoramic view and easy access to the sea thanks to a transformer system. A winter garden (an area that is considered as “outdoor” but is in fact enclosed by glazed surfaces and air conditioned) works as a transition between the salon and the aft area. This place can also be deployed as a TV room.The lower deck offers four guests cabins. Aft, there is a wine cellar with controlled temperature and humidity and a cold room fully dedicated to the fish storage.An external staircase allows to reach the sundeck, furnished with a sunbed area but featuring a much more minimal style, with teak having been replaced by polished flooring, typical of ice breakers and work boats. On this deck, the bridge house lies designed with military outlines in mind. The bridge house represents a lifting platform and an observation point for catching sight of whales or simply enjoying the views.In general, the interiors feature large glazed surfaces letting in plenty of natural light, vertical elements with metal finishes alternating with the pleasant shades of natural materials. Italian marbles and exotic woods come combined with ancient Moroccan straw mats and Indian silk fabrics; the large display cabinets and the wide shelves have been specifically designed to showcase precious objects gathered from seas across the globe. Baglietto is superyacht builder based in La Spezia, founded in 1854. In 2019, the shipyard has been active on the news, about to deliver the 55-metre vessel which is part of the yard’s well-known T-Line series and the lines of the 40-metre hull revealed.
Riva debutes its first 50m flagship Race in Venice
The world premiere of the 50-metre flagship Race by Riva Yachts took place in Venice earlier today. The yacht was launched in March 2019 as the first model of the Riva Superyachts Division.Built for Italian customer, the yacht exceeds previous Riva flagship Fora (ex. Sol) by 12 metres and measures up to 9 metres in her beam.Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti Group, stated:The largest Riva, the dream of Carlo Riva that came true, a boat of immense beauty, could only make its debut at the Arsenale, which has been for centuries the largest naval factory in the world. The dreams, the skill and the talent that inhabited this space are the same ones that have animated the Riva myth in 177 years of history, up to the birth of this incredible mega yacht. Riva 50 metres is the result of the collaboration between Officina Italiana Design, the studio founded by Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta, who exclusively designs the entire Riva range, and the engineering team dedicated to designing the new Riva superyachts with the Ferretti Group Product Strategic Committee.The yacht features a large beach club at the stern, used as both an area for relaxation and a garage able to accommodate a Williams Dieseljet 625 tender. The bow houses a living area as well as a second garage with a hatch that opens to reveal a rescue boat. At the foredeck, there will be two jet-skis, with a carbon davit for easy launching. Additionally, the yacht’s sun deck is completed by a Jacuzzi, a sun pad and an area for dining and relaxing.Across her four decks, Riva 50 will be able to accommodate up to 12 guests in the master suite and a luxurious VIP cabin on the main deck, and another 4 VIP suites on the lower deck, which also hosts 4 cabins for the crew.The next international spot for Riva 50 will be Monaco Yacht Show 2019.
Evo 120: another Tecnomar yacht destroyed by fire
Italian media have reported that the 36.6-metre yacht Evo 120 by Italian builder Tecnomar caught fire in the early hours of Sunday, June 16, resulting in the vessel’s complete destruction. The incident took place in Marina di Carrara, Italy, with no casualties reported.According to media sources, the captain was on-board alone when the fire broke out. He managed to leave the vessel quickly. At around 01 a.m., firefighters, the police and the coast guard arrived to isolate the fire and prevent it from affecting other yachts.Launched 4 weeks ago, the yacht was the second hull from the Tecnomar Evo 120 series, due for imminent delivery to an Asian customer. As it is evident on the images available on the internet, the yacht has partly sunk and has been heavily damaged. The yacht was later towed away to a more remote section of the marina and isolated. Meanwhile, the first hull from the series was launched in 2018, while the third one is currently under construction. Sadly, the news is not the first sad ones of its kind regarding the vessels of the yard, after the 34-metre yacht caught fire in Mykonos in 2017.
Interiors revealed: inside the 80m Palumbo flagship Dragon
Italian yacht builder Columbus Yachts (part of Palumbo Superyachts) has recently launched its current 80-metre flagship Dragon. Following the launch, Palumbo has released the first interior and running images of the yacht with exteriors and naval architecture by Hydro Tec and interiors by Francesco Guida.Dragon features impressive interior volume of over 2,100 GT spread over six decks. The upper deck also offers a 200-square-metre beach club laid at water level, fitted with multiple wellness and spa zones. The design concept is trademarked through large panoramic windows across the main salon and dining room, requested by the owner. The largest of these 40mm-thick panes covers an area of 10 square metres, with its weight of nearly two tonnes. Such windows are yet supported solely by the beams and stiffeners of the superstructure, without extra columns or pillars.The vessel will boast a Jacuzzi and large 7-metre mosaic-lined swimming pool on the sundeck, featured with counter current function. The latter is designed to provide ocean swimming experience when on-board. Cascading between the pool and the shaded hot tub is a waterfall feature from the overhanging mast roof.Furthermore, there is side-loading tender storage laid midships, with capacity for two tenders, with a 9,5-metre custom tender currently constructed by ISA Yachts, that will reflect the mothership’s style. The yacht’s interior hallmarks will include light and dark oak panels, parquet floor made of American walnut, Traventine marbles of moonlight and natural colours, satin-gold door handles and agate backlit surface used for beach club. Furthermore, a personal touch is given through owner-supplied items such as the occasional piece of vintage furniture and fine Persian rugs, or the Barrovier & Toso chandelier in the main saloon.Dragon’s accommodation capacity makes up to 12 guests within four double suites and a VIP-suite. fitted with a private lounge zone, covering full beam. The master suite with panoramic view is situated at the upper-deck, as well as a helipad. As to the crew, the vessel can accommodate up to 19.Powered by a pair of MTU engines, Dragon can boast a maximum speed of 16,5 knots, with comfortable cruising speed of 12 knots under the range of over 6,000 nautical miles.With Dragon scheduled for delivery and international debut at Monaco Yacht Show later this year, the yard has recently presented a 120-metre concept aimed to overdo the rcurrent flagship in terms of LOA. The builder is ready to begin construction of the latter as soon as a customer occurs.