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

42-meter superyacht Lalibela has been destroyed by fire
42-meter superyacht Lalibela has been heavily damaged due to fire, which broke out at the night while she was docked near Cannes, France. The fire destroyed the top deck and cabins inside, reports Maritime Bulletin. Two of the firefighters had been injured while extinguishing and two seamen were on board, while the fire broke out, but they succesfully left the vessel without any damage. Lalibela was built by Benetti in 1972 and last refitted in 2013. She was available for charter starting from € 75,000 per week + expenses.
60-meter superyacht Sarastar shooted for a Netflix film in Monaco
60-meter superyacht Sarastar is coming to small screens next year, as she has one of the leading roles in movie, alongside with Hollywood superstars - Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Luke Evans. All together they will appear in a mystery-comedy for Netflix called "Murder Mystery".60-meter Sarastar was filmed in August in Santa Margherita, Italy. Recently, she was spotted in Monaco, where the yacht was renamed "Mediterrannean Queen" for the purposes of the film.Built in 2017 by Mondomarine and designed by Luca Dini, she represents a sportive and elegant vessel capable of reaching a maximum speed of 19.5 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots.One of the main characteristics of the yacht is the completely closed forward area in which the garage has been located. The tenders are hidden under a flush bridge that can be used as helipad, sunbathing area for guests or dance floor. Another key feature is represented by the stairs that lead one from the sundeck directly to the side of the wheelhouse. Sarastar can sleep up to 12 guests in a master suite and 5 double staterooms.Luca Dini worked with designers Silvia Margutti and Gabriele Tartaelli, who used rare natural materials (white onyx, semi-precious stones, crystals and exotic marbles) throughout the interior. The Italian shipyard has unveiled its largest superyacht concept in September 2016, which has been designed in collaboration with Giorgio Vafiadis & Associates. 70m Arte's alluring amenities include a vast beach club with fold-out transom and folding side panels and a wheel house on the sun deck covered by a glass shell. Moreover, the yacht features a a sundeck Jacuzzi and a swimming pool, situated in front of the owner's saloon.Sarastar is currently for sale asking €50 000 000, as well as available for charter starting from €364,000 per week + expenses both through Burgess.Photo and info by Raphael Belly
106-meter invisible superyacht concept Mirage
Pieter van Geest and Tracey-Jayne Canavaggio have a combined 35 years of experience in the design field. Their talents lie in exterior and interior yacht design as well as furniture design and project management. With their extensive knowledge and experience in shipyard production, project management and owner’s representation, they maintain not only an artistic, but also a practical hands-on approach to design. For 106-meter superyacht Mirage, after extensive research on glass specifications and capabilities Van Geest Design has created this design. The glass with its visual effects combined with the overall shape of the yacht lead to this extraordinary result. Mirage is not something different, but something unique in its philosophy and execution. It will be built from mirrored glass, which makes it easily blend in with its surroundings. Staggeringly, designers claim that the 4,200 tonne vessel completely “vanishes” when you’re viewing it from more than 50 metres away.Mirage is the translation of city landscapes, sky scrapers, gigantic, present, anchored, but then again cladded with reflective surfaces, blending into the landscape, merging with its environment, giving lightness to the building, an elegant presence embracing its surroundings. The colour variable mirrored glass is developed by a German glass manufacturer, which has never been used on yachts before. All the vertical panels on the yacht will have this finish – if you were on the water it would probably be invisible from over 50 metres away. If you are on the yacht itself the mirror will project the yacht's surroundings, so in a way, it will give you a floating on air effect when onboard.Present on the water un-accessible with a closed transom, one can only board in by invitation. It is a retreat made discreet by its reflective surfaces blending on the horizon, with its decks disappearing between water and sky. Unfolding itself, Mirage tells a story of time, reflecting the day passing by on a coloured reflective surface offering a peaceful gaze on the travelled distances. Bridge deck forward the area has been designed as a gathering point, interacting with the captain, discussing the next destination while looking forward. It took 12 months to create the blueprints.<iframe width="920" height="518" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hnqWaL_2NmU" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
19-meter LY650 luxury yacht by Lexus
19-meter Lexus yacht is the fourth Lexus flagship, joining the LS sedan, LX SUV and LC coupe. She is a first production marine vessel to use L-finesse, the design language of Lexus. It is a result of the exploration into non-automotive ventures continues beyond the Lexus brand’s involvement in luxury lifestyle experiences related to culinary, design and film.Crafting amazing automobiles is something Lexus has pursued relentlessly, as evidenced by the beautiful hand-pleated door panels in the LS 500 or the complex paint process, inspired by the morpho butterfly, that results in dazzling Structural Blue. And crafting every touch point around the brand is an opportunity Lexus continues to seize. This maritime application is another proof point in the storied history of Lexus that explores new frontiers both inside and outside the automotive industry.Lexus continually evaluates what constitutes a luxury experience and has, as a result, ventured into the worlds of culinary, design, film, and more as alternative opportunities to interact with the brand. Driven by Lexus International President, Yoshihiro Sawa’s vision of Lexus as a brand that, “explores new ways to deliver innovative and amazing experiences for our guests,” Lexus has partnered with some of the world’s finest purveyors of experience to further celebrate the phrase, Experience Amazing. And now, Lexus returns to the water with its next expression of a Lexus yacht in the form of the LY 650. Bearing the most contemporary expression of Lexus design language, L-finesse, applied beyond the world of automobiles, the production LY 650 picks up where the stunning Lexus Sport Yacht Concept left off.Encouraged by the robust public interest in the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept, a follow-up maritime effort was fueled by Executive Vice President; Shigeki Tomoyama’s desire to, “present a dream-like vision of the luxury lifestyle; one where the Lexus Yacht expands the potential of Lexus mobility to the ocean.” Making this dream-like vision a reality, Marquis-Larson Boat Group was selected to build, sell and service the next Lexus yacht based largely on their extensive experience with bespoke boat building and their proven capability, confirmed by their work bringing the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept to life. Based in Pulaski, WI, Marquis-Larson is the ideal partner to bring the second chapter of Lexus yacht design to fruition with their thorough blend of artisanal craftsmanship, modern technology and inspired design. Complementing the Lexus brand’s heritage of takumi craftspeople who are supremely skilled in their roles, Marquis’ craftsmanship backbone is clearly demonstrated by their masterful boat builders, many of whom have been with the company for 30 years.Several of the most attractive features from the 12-meter concept have made their way onto the LY 650. Measuring 65 feet in overall length with a 5-meter beam, the newest Lexus yacht has a distinguished style found in the strong, pronounced bow, curved deck accents and accentuated aft hips. Viewed from the profile, the elegant rise and fall of the yacht’s distinctly Lexus roofline flows into rising, broad hips of the rear section. The first completed Lexus LY 650 is expected to be finished in the second half of 2019 and will make its global debut late in the year.
95-meter superyacht Kismet in $150 million movie
Previously, YachtHarbour wrote about Jay-Z and Beyonce aboard Shahid Khan's $200-million 95-metre superyacht Kismet.Few days ago, superyacht Kismet was spotted during filming of the new Michael Bay movie "Six Underground" in Taranto (Italy), which has already won the record of the biggest Netflix production. The streaming company has invested 150 million dollars for the realization of the action film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona and Corey Hawkins.The production has literally occupied the city, after the first shots in Florence and Tuscany. Kismet also arrived at the 30th of September. It is one of the most luxurious yachts in the world, which was moored next to the Aragonese Castle of Taranto. Netflix has chartered the boat for $1.2 million from its owner. 95-meter superyacht Kismet was built in 2014 by Lurssen and is owned by Shadid Khan, Pakistani-American billionaire and business tycoon, who is also the owner of the Fulham FC and Jacksonville Jaguars. The yacht's interior has been designed by Reymond Langton Design and her exterior styling is by Espen Oeino. A party scene with around eighty guests and some shootings was shot on the boat. Meanwhile, the city has already been the protagonist of several action scenes and an explosion right next to the yacht.The film focuses on the story of a group of 6 billionaires led by Ryan Reynolds. Each of the 6 members of the team has faked dead to become part of this group ready to fight criminals.Taranto will become in the film a Middle Eastern city, protagonist of shootings and attacks. The city, in fact, is led by a dictator victim of a scandal, for whose resolution requires the intervention of the Reynolds team. The action sequences are truly spectacular, especially the one on the revolving bridge connecting the Borgo Antico and the Borgo Nuovo and overlooking the city waterway. The sequence has foreseen the opening of the bridge and in the video below we see Manuel Garcìa Rulfo walking as the structure moves. Kismet is available for charter starting from $1,200,000 + expenses, as well as available for sale with the price upon request both through Moran Yacht & Ship.Photos and info by Giansanto Rizzotti