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

The New Build 43m Mangusta Oceano Project Como Has Been Sold
Camper & Nicholsons have announced the sale of the 43m Mangusta Oceano in-build project Project Como.Como is planned for early delivery in the summer of 2021. Hull number 06 in the series comes complete with in-house exterior lines, styling and all Italian décor. The interior has some upgrades and personalisation such as stainless steel details, ebony joinery, high gloss lacquers and fine leather throughout. Both the exterior and interior were designed by Alberto Mancini Yacht Design. With her full displacement steel hull and aluminium superstructure construction, this is a long-range ocean-going tri-deck yacht offering accommodation for up to twelve guests in five well-appointed cabins. There is a shaded guest lounging area with plunge pool at the foredeck, and, down aft, she boasts a spacious beach club with a bar and gym area along with a large swimming platform. She can reach speeds up to 15 knots and has a range in excess of 4,500 nautical miles at 11 knots. Her tender and toys are stored in a dedicated garage under the foredeck. Overmarine Group was founded in 1985 by the Balducci family. The shipyard builds open and displacement power superyachts under the Mangusta and Mangusta Oceanco brand names.Credits: Overmarine Group
Cantiere Delle Marche Launches RJ 130
Cantiere delle Marche announced that explorer RJ 130 has been successfully launched.The exterior and interior of RJ range were designed by Francesco Paszkowski and naval architecture by Hydro Tec. The 40m explorer can accommodate 12 guests and seven crew members.“The RJ range of yachts is definitely a game changer for CdM. With three sales and five interior designs commissioned to Francesco Paszkowski, cooperation with multi-award-winning designers has already proven to be the right choice!” says Vasco Buonpensiere, co-founder and sales & marketing director at CdM.RJ features twin heavy duty MTU 10V2000M72 engines delivering 900kW each at 2250rpm, allowing a top speed of 14.5 knots. At an economic speed of 9 knots, she will have a range of around 5500nm with about 10% fuel left upon arrival.RJ 130 was sold to a European owner. “It was a great pleasure to work with an owner who was keen to bring his experience to CdM,” says Vasco. “Choosing CdM, he offered a serious statement of trust in our yard’s reliability and construction quality. I’d like to add that it’s inspiring and a reason for pride to see that a growing number of experienced and motivated owners prefer CdM to build their yachts,” Buonpensiere maintains. “Our clients have fantastic ideas for cruising, diving, luxury toys and serious boating. They are planning adventures, getting involved in underwater exploration, marine life observation, etc. As a shipbuilder, it’s exciting to be a part of making their ideas a reality, with this range merging the world of white yachts with that of real explorer vessels even more.”CdM’s story begins in 2010. Since 2015, the shipyard is the world’s leading builder of explorer yachts. Cantiere delle Marche builds long-range, luxury yachts and superyachts from 26m to 40m in length.Credits: Cantiere delle Marche
Asian Debut for the MCY 70 Skylounge
After the successful launch at the Miami Yacht Show last February, the MCY 70 Skylounge has arrived in Hong Kong for its first-ever Asian live premiere.The online live event staged by Asia Yachting, MCY’s official dealer for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, aired on January 14th across a number of well-appointed media channels, arousing considerable interest and attention among the brand’s friends and followers around the world.Credits: MCY
Atlantide Arrives at Huisfit
The 1930’s yacht Atlantide was shipped from Newport, United States, to the Netherlands, and arrived at Royal Huisman’s headquarters in Vollenhove in the first week of 2021. Following the 2020 refit by Huisfit of Jim and Kristy Clark’s famous J-Class yacht Hanuman, and with three newbuild orders already completed by Royal Huisman in the recent decades (Hyperion in 1998, Athena in 2004, and Hanuman in 2009), the owner of this 37m classic motorsail yacht, Dr. Jim Clark, decided the same craftsmen and women are best suited to take on this new project – rebuilding Atlantide at the Royal Huisman.Atlantide was designed by naval architect Alfred Mylne and built by the British shipyard Philip & Sons in 1930. The Royal Huisman’s team has an established successful track-record with the restoration of classics, conversions, and rebuilds of historical yachts: structural work, updates and conservation work are all embarked on with keen interest and great skill. Rebuild and conversion projects by Huisfit are never a “typical refit,” and the scope of such projects is often as comprehensive as a newbuild – perfectly suited for a team equally at home in both areas of expertise.Jan Timmerman, CEO Royal Huisman comments: “If a discerning client commissions a fourth very substantial project to the same shipyard, you just know that the work you perform is truly appreciated. So we are most honoured to find ourselves in the position to realise yet another dream for our esteemed clients Jim and Kristy Clark.Having received the prestigious Best Rebuilt Yacht award for rebuilding the 1913 Herreshoff schooner Vagrant in November 2020, we look forward to starting a new restauration in addition to the current refit projects of Huisfit – a project so grand in scale that we will be allocating it the same status as a new project, and, a very special, unique, and historic project which we are certain to make into a success thanks to our skilled craftsmen and women, together with the owners and their team!”The rebuild of Atlantide is scheduled for delivery in spring 2022.Royal Huisman is a Dutch shipyard established in 1884 in Ronduite, building and refitting custom luxury sailing and motor yachts at its shipyard in Vollenhove, the Netherlands.Credits: Royal Huisman
Keel Laying Ceremony for Baglietto’s 52m Hull Number 10238
The ceremony for the Baglietto’s Hull Number 10238 keel laying, the first of 52m of the new generation of TLine yachts signed by Francesco Paszkowski Design, took place just before the Christmas holidays.The 52m Hull No. 10238 is a yacht that draws inspiration from Baglietto’s tradition – preserving its most classical stylistic features – but reinterprets it in a modern, contemporary key. The stern has been completely restyled and is now open, with a beach club on three different levels. The large pool can be “hidden” by an original up/down moving flooring system. Inside, the salon’s floor-to-ceiling glazing ensures a constant contact with the sea even when living indoors. The sky lounge on the upper deck can be opened on three sides. A retractable ladder directly connects the sun deck and the upper deck at the bow, making the latter a natural extension of the former. The yacht will be equipped with a standard hybrid propulsion system that will allow one to choose a more efficient navigation mode, reducing both costs and environmental impact. When cruising in electrical diesel mode, the T52 will have a range of up to 7,600 nautical miles and will be able to remain at anchor for up to ten hours just using batteries. However, her two MTU 16V2000M86 engines will also allow her to reach quite an impressive maximum speed of 17 knots and a range of 3,600 nautical miles in traditional navigation mode.Baglietto Spa is Italian boat builder based in La Spezia and specializes in the construction of new aluminum light alloy yachts ranging between 35m and 50m in length and steel and light aluminum alloy displacement mega-yachts starting 40m.Credits: Baglietto