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 Singapore Yacht Show 2019 overview: what you may have missed
The leading yacht and luxury show in Asia, the Singapore Yacht Show, took place at ONE ̊15 Marina Sentosa Cove from 11 April – 14 April. The ninth edition of the show this year received 16,000 visitors (with more than a half from overseas) along with 87 yachts and over 150 brands.The four-day celebration of the yachting lifestyle comprised glamorous yacht parties, diverse watersports experiences, gourmet eateries, bustling bars and show-stopping supercar parades. Potential buyers and charterers came from all around the Asia Pacific region, from as far away as Japan, China and Australia. Yachts and boats lineups of this year’s edition included Azimut Yachts, Boat Lagoon Yachting, Ferretti Group, Hong Seh Marine, Princess Yachts, ProMarine, Simpson Marine, Sunseeker and others.The show saw over 30 local and regional yachting premieres from the world-leading brands. For instance, SilverYachts and Espen Oeino unveiled their brand new superyacht catamaran line, 35-metre ‘SpaceCat’ power catamarans, with their construction beginning in China next month.The Princess Yachts, the show’s longtime supporter, represented by local dealer Boat Lagoon Yachting, showcased a 13-strong fleet and 3 regional premieres. Kiran Haslam, Marketing Director of Princess Yachts commented:Our commitment to this show and to the region is clear, demonstrated by us having more yachts on display here than even at the big Cannes show in September. We are seeing a real emergence of the South East Asian market and an increased excitement and enthusiasm for yachting.The organisers report, visitor footfall over the weekend was well up on last year even though there were several other major events happening concurrently, such as the opening of the Jewel Centre at Changi Airport, the Presidential Elections in Indonesia and Songkran festival in Thailand.Marine Italia reported the sale of at least two yachts in the first two days alone. The company’s Executive Director Paul Grange highlighted: We are delighted by the activity levels and results that we have achieved since we’ve started representing Azimut in Singapore in 2018. With three Azimut Yachts sold in the run-up to the Singapore Yacht Show and a further two yachts sold during the show, it is clear that there is a genuine demand for Azimut’s truly Italian Yachts in the region.Returning exhibitor Leopard Catamarans, presenting four boats this year, also noted an increased amount of interest in sailing catamarans, in particular the newly launched Leopard 50. Andrew de Bruin, General Manager of Multihull Solutions, the dealer for Fountaine Pajot, reported another successful showing with the sale of three yachts, including one of the Fountaine Pajot Alegria 67 sailing catamarans which was making its Asian debut.Longtime supporter Simpson Marine, showcasing a massive 16-strong fleet – their largest ever display, and a record for any single exhibiting company in the history of SYS – featured two Asian premieres from Sanlorenzo, three from Lagoon and one from Beneteau, as well as displays from Monte Carlo Yachts and Aquila.Singapore-based dealer Hong Seh Marine reports on the quality of clients visiting the Show, with people coming to look at a variety of yachts, from the small Boston Whalers, mid-sized Riva Yachts, all the way up to large custom build yachts by the Ferretti Group.Other major global yachting brands and builders were celebrated at the 15th edition of the Asia Boating Awards held at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel prior to the opening of the Show. There, Dutch superyacht builder Amels was awarded Best Semi-Custom-Built Yacht (above 120ft) for the recently delivered Volpini 2, while Sunseeker picked up the Best Sportscruiser (above 55ft) award for the Sunseeker 74 Sport Yacht.Italian powerhouse builders Monte Carlo Yachts and Riva Yacht were awarded Best Flybridge Yacht (above 55ft to 80ft) and Best Flybridge Yacht (above 80ft to 110ft) respectively for the MCY 70 and Riva 110 Dolcevita. Meanwhile, organisers Verventia strongly believe in the potential for leisure boating businesses in the region, and are constantly seeking to improve the show experience and the return on investment for exhibitors and sponsors.In the conclusion, Wade Pearce, Show Director of Singapore Yacht Show said: We put everything into making the Singapore Yacht Show work, so it’s good to hear that it continues to contribute to the development of the industry in Asia. Feedback from participants tells us what we’re doing right and what we need to change. In that way, the Show hopefully strengthens every year, and we are making some big changes for our 10th Anniversary Edition next year.
55m Nomad: new Amels 180 superyacht launched
Dutch builder Amels announced the launch of a new 55-metre Amels 180 hull christened Nomad at Vlissingen facility today. This is already the second Amels 180 launch since the beginning of the year.The yacht is trademarked with a bespoke colour scheme, created by her owner in collaboration with exterior designer Tim Heywood and Amels in-house design team. Nomad’s blue hull and anthracite grey superstructure create uninterrupted geometry highlighting the long lines of the bridge deck and sun deck. Meanwhile, the yacht’s custom interiors were developed by a California-based boutique residential studio Bonesteel Trout Hall, in collaboration with the Amels interior specialists. Nomad will be capable of reaching a top speed of 15.5 knots. She offers accommodation to up to 12 guests taken care of by a crew of 13.The vessel is scheduled for delivery this summer, after completion of final outfitting strikes at the yard. Meanwhile, the Dutch builder announced the sale of the 25th Amels 180 at the beginning of 2019.Photos by Tom van Oossanen via Amels.
New Sunseeker 161 unveils the highlighted design
After previously working in the Predator and Manhattan ranges from 2006 to 2009, Design Unlimited joined the Sunseeker 161 Yacht project.The British studio Design Unlimited has presented the first interior images of the next Sunseeker 161 yacht, which will become the new flagship when it launches in 2021.Announced last September, the 161-meter 49-meter yacht is the first Sunseeker Yacht project with an aluminium hull, which is being built in collaboration with the Dutch shipyard Icon Yachts. It will have a design with a fast displacement hull, with design and naval architecture that will take charge of the development team of Sunseeker in Pula.The new Sunseeker three-deck yacht in the 50-meter segment follows the iconic exterior lines of the brand and offers exceptional space and volume. The luxurious interior space can be decorated according to the unique taste of each owner with the help of the well-known Sunseeker service "Bespoke".Named "Sunseeker by Icon", specific details about the yacht are scarce, but the style balances Sunseeker's familiar window designs with an aggressive wheelhouse, which faces a long, surprising arch that creates an almost vertical entrance.This is an exciting offer and, in combination with a high-speed helmet, alludes to a large yacht in the style of an investigator, designed for comfortable and efficient travel over long distances.The standard configuration is designed for ten people but can be accommodated 12 according to the chosen design. Using the Sunseeker custom service, customers can tailor the interior of the 161 yachts to their exact wishes.The key points will include a configuration that generally offers accommodation for 10 people in five cabins, but with the option of 12 in six cabins and a small pool on the main deck. The design also includes a large beach club area with drop-down brackets and a transom mirror that create a wonderful entertainment space right on the water. The interior details of the number one body have not yet been published, but thanks to Sunseeker's individual service, the choice of finishes and styles is extensive.The announcement of this new model and the partnership between the two shipyards has made at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2018, and the number one helmet should be presented in the spring of 2021.Jen Wartena, CEO of Icon Yachts said: “There is a great synergy between Icon and Sunseeker because we are combining both of our strengths; our capacity and metal yacht building capabilities with Sunseeker’s sales expertise and marketing power.We believe the Sunseeker by Icon will revolutionize the industry in a positive way. It is an exciting period for Icon Yachts and this new partnership with Sunseeker is part of our ongoing growth strategy where we are investing heavily in facilities and people to improve our capability and capacity.”Sunseeker, a British yacht builder, has delivered more than 125 yachts over 30 meters in length since joining the superyacht market in 2001.@Photos by Sunseeker Yachts
80m Blohm + Voss superyacht Grand Ocean under extensive refit with SSH Martime
80m superyacht Grand Ocean built in Germany by Bloom + Voss is currently undergoing an extensive refit at the Greek yard SSH Maritime. Among other things, the refit works will include a 5.5-metre extension at the aft, following solid interior refit in 2017. Grand Ocean is an explorer-style yacht with spacious comfort in mind. Built in 1990, the yacht originally featured sophisticated exterior design and engineering by Platou Architects along with interiors by Alberto Pinto, trademarked with spectacular views and the ability to transform the huge mosaic outdoor swimming pool into a dance floor.The yacht’s 2017 refit was managed by naval architect Vasilis Lagogiannis, while inner décor was sensitively updated under the supervision of Sofia Mandouvalou of SSH design team.During the works, main-deck dressing room was added, the yacht’s superb aft-deck swimming pool upgraded and refurbished with new ceilings, though retaining separate areas for lounging, sunbathing and dining. The yacht also boasts a hexagonal spa pool at the superyacht sundeck.Grand Ocean offers accommodation on-board for 14 guests within seven cabins, along with entertaining space for many more and 29 crew members. For instance, the main-deck dining room features seating space for up to 18 guests around a large wooden table. Meanwhile, the yacht’s master cabin features en-suite bathroom and elegant décor with upgraded, linen, wallpaper and ceiling fabrics.Guests on-board Grand Ocean can enjoy an intimate upper deck lounge and a more expansive upper deck saloon. Light upholstery combined with warm woodwork and arched windows create a light airy atmosphere, complemented by the on-board piano.Grand Ocean boasts a cruising speed of 16 knots, a maximum speed of 18 knots and a range of 9,100 nautical miles. The yacht is listed for sale via SSH Martime asking € 49,000,000.SSH Maritime is a full-service yachting company specialising in management, refits, sales, charter and new builds. Covering a global reach in Europe, the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia, SSH offers insights on selling, chartering and managing large yachts. The yard has also recently successfully completed a €4,000,000 on 51-metre explorer yacht Aspire.
13-time Best Asian Yacht Builder Horizon Yachts signs up the 14th FD87 unit
Taiwan yacht builder Horizon Yachts has signed a contract for a new-build FD87 hull, becoming the fourteenth unit in the series.The 26.5-metre vessel specified as a Skyline version, was commissioned by US customers. They have previously built and owned a 27.24 metre Horizon E88. The yacht will become the fourth FD87 delivered to US clients within 18 months.This FD87 hull will feature a unique main-deck layout, where the owners specified a large country kitchen forward in place of an on-deck master. The yacht's accommodation space will be placed to the lower deck, comprising a full-beam master suite amidships and two VIPs forward and to starboard. The exterior deck space of FD87 will be maximised from the spacious aft main deck dining and lounging area to a Jacuzzi tub for 8 persons forward of the pilothouse. The yacht will also feature an enclosed skylounge extending aft into a protected exterior bar area with lounge zone and tender storage.The 26-metre is scheduled for delivery in summer 2020; the owners plan to cruise her along the U.S. East Coast, Bahamas and beyond.Meanwhile, the Taiwan-based builder has been recently honoured with the “Best Asian Yacht Builder” award for the 13th time. The annual Asia Boating Awards ceremony was held on in Singapore, organised by Asia-Pacific Boating magazine and China Boating magazine. The event, established in 2005, is considered the most renowned yachting awards in Asia-Pacific region.