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

Heesen Started Construction of Project Oslo24
Heesen has shared the shipyard’s latest news – the construction of YN 20150, code-named Project Oslo24, has officially begun. The owners and their family attended the keel-laying ceremony on October 4, and welded their ‘good luck coins’ to section three, where the IMO number was engraved. The ceremony was formally witnessed by a Lloyd’s Register surveyor who signed off this first stage in the yacht’s build.The 50m yacht will be built on the platform of the 50-metre Steel Class. Project Oslo24 will be equipped with Heesen’s hybrid system, which offers indisputable advantages over traditional diesel propulsion. The owner, an experienced yachtsman, made this choice with the clear intent of creating a yacht that is cleaner, quieter and more efficient than comparable conventional craft.“We were the first shipyard who dared to take the financial risk of building hybrid yachts on speculation and today, all our yachts are available with hybrid propulsion as an option. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is our mantra. Today, that change is real. It is a pleasure to see that clients trust our systems and decide to implement them in their highly customised yachts to reduce their footprint,” says Friso Visser, Heesen CCO.The Heesen hybrid drivetrain draws on diesel engines and electric motors, together or individually and in any combination, for both propulsion and hotel needs. In the automotive world such systems typically emphasise energy-saving and reducing emissions, but hybrid propulsion at sea has a broader set of aims. Silent cruising and minimal vibration enormously enhance comfort levels on board and are especially appealing during night passages.The interior is made by Luca Dini Design and Architecture who creates an interior that incorporates plenty of fine details connected to their life at sea and the areas they will be exploring aboard their yacht. Contrasting dark, high-gloss and light matte wood finishes, with a ribbed canneté texture to evoke the forests, blend with soft leather in warm tones to create a snug environment to offer guests a refuge when the air is brisk and chilly outside.“The owner of Oslo24 and his family are deeply involved in every aspect of this project,” said Stefan Zucker of Zucker and Partner, the owner’s representative. “For us, this makes it an even more exciting project.” The heart of the system is the yacht’s twin MTU 8V4000 M63 (IMO Tier III) main engines, each one coupled to a water-cooled, 135kW Danfoss electric motor on the same propeller shaft. This streamlined configuration offers versatility, flexible power management, and redundancy, with three operational modes: Silent, Economy and Cruising. YN 20150 Project Oslo24 is scheduled for delivery in March 2024.Heesen Yachts is a Dutch ship building company that specializes in custom-built superyachts in aluminium and steel from 30m to 70m in size. Founded in 1978, it has launched more than 170 yachts since its inception.Credits: Heesen Yachts
Great Victories by Wally's High-speed Sailboats at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez
Wally’s fast cruisers outperform with big wins at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez.Magic Carpet 3_1A moderate swell during the second week of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez kept the bowman on Magic Carpet Cubed well refreshed. Flying downwind with the big asymmetric, the boat sets an awe-inspiring 1,420 square metres of sail on her 46m-tall, high modulus carbon fibre mast. Speeds can be breathtaking, with performance to match. Even though the Wallycento is designed for comfortable cruising, its high-tech design and development is the equal of the most modern thoroughbred on the race course.Magic Carpet 3_2Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ spectacular Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed managed to close out a win despite stiff challenges from George David’s Rambler. After two races the boats were still neck-and-neck for points, so it all came down to the last leg of the last race in Saint Tropez. The start was delayed by low winds, but the biggest Maxis in the IRC 1 class still had a 25-mile course to cover. Luckily conditions freshened to a sporty 18-knot breeze from the east, making for a fantastic show.Magic Carpet 3_3Fresh from victory in the Maxi divisionat the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last month, Magic CarpetCubedisinstantlyrecognisable for hergleaming blue topsides. Ithasbecomea brandfeature for the ownerwhohashad no fewerthanthreeWallysbuilt with the samename.Lyra_1There was little doubt about the winner of the IRC 3B class at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, where the Wally 77 Lyra posted two back-to-back bullets in the three-race regatta. The team and the boat have proven to always be up to the different racing conditions. Since her launch in 2000, Lyra has continued tuning culminating in a recent substantial refit in the hull and keel.There were 18 boats in the mini-maxi class, making it one of the most competitive, a fact borne out by the narrow margins involved at the start and the finish.Lyra_2Lyra counts some top pro sailors among her crew, and they were riding high after a clean sheet at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winning the Mini Maxi 3&4 division. They looked set to repeat the performance here in Saint Tropez as well. Conditions provided a mixed bag, with one day’s racing cancelled due to excessive wind and one due to no wind, with others postponed until the breeze came in. Victory this year depended on the ability of boats and crews to adapt, as Lyra demonstrated.Green eyesShowing just how competitive a Wally can be, the beautiful 2002 Wally 107 Green Eyes (ex-Kauris III) had the highest rating in her IRC 2 group at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez last week. Her stunning wood-panelled interior and phenomenal comfort levels are amply offset by the lightness of the hull and a process of refits which have seen the rig constantly updated to reduce weight aloft. Equipped with a canting keel, she sports a carbon mast by Southern Spars and ECSix standing rigging.RoseLaunched in 2006, Rose (former Tango G) is one of Wally’s successful Wally 80 line, which ran to half a dozen yachts. She features the quintessential Wally DNA of sleek, minimal lines, open, uncluttered decks and a timeless style that appeals as strongly today as it did when she was built. Rose has proved herself a formidable competitor on the Med maxi circuit, but also a very comfortable cruising yacht with luxurious cabins, lots of social space and room for plenty of toys.Ryokan 2Ryokan 2, winner of the Compasso d’Oro design award, is a perennial competitor in Saint Tropez, and pulled off a well-earned win in her class in last year’s event. This year it wasn’t to be, with two second places and a fourth putting him in a very respectable third overall. The Wally 80 has an experienced crew, and the boat has seen some beneficial tweaks to her rig to sharpen performance in light wind. When it all comes together, this boat can challenge the newest yachts on the course.Y3KThe powerful 100-footer Y3K was hoping for great things at this year’s Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. Variable conditions kept his crew on their toes, ultimately managing a solid fourth place overall. But the boat showed her potential, with a well-earned win in the lighter winds of the second race. Built in 2009, this German Frers hull has the speed, grace and lightness of all Wallys. And yet she packs luxurious accommodation for six guests and four crew.Wally Class prize giving VDST2021With so many Wally yachts competing in the maxi classes at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, there has long been a dedicated class award to celebrate the depth of the talent on the water. Wally 77 Lyra took a resounding first place, followed closely by Ryokan 2 and Magic Carpet Cubed.Magic Carpet 3 winner Maxi Division VDST2021Among the very biggest, most competitive IRC1 boats, the competition for the top spot was fierce. Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones rejoices with his team for the victory. Over the years they developed a boat that is a powerhouse and an icon to modernism. He and his crew spurred the Wallycento to a blistering performance on the final day of racing, which saw them edge out their rivals. World leader in yachting innovation and part of Ferretti Group, Wally combines the latest technology with contemporary design, constantly looking at ways of improving on the water enjoyment with performance, comfort and style.Founded in 1994 in Monaco by Luca Bassani, passionate and visionary yachtsman, Wally changed the entire concept of cruising yachts and created groundbreaking sailing and power boats which are unmatched reference points in yachting and in the design world. Wally is the only yachting brand to be a two-time winner of the ADI Compassod’Oro, the world’s most important award for quality and design.Credits: Wally
24m Concept Embryon Revealed by Lazzarini Design
Rome-based Lazzarini Design has shared their latest concept – a 24m tender Embryon. She has a transparent carbon-fibre hull and can accommodate eight guests across four cabins, including one master suite and one VIP. The sun deck has a spacious L-shaped lounge and a sunbed. Embryon exterior Photochromic room The material is very light, which gives the additional advantages in terms of performance. Thanks to a diesel and hydrogen propulsion system comprising twin MAN V12 2000hp engines and one electric 1260hp engine, Embryon’s estimated speed will be around 65 knots. The other option is electric set up. Side view Embryon carries a €6,000,000 price tag. This eco-concept follows the futuristic Shape, that was revealed at the beginning of October. Top viewCredits: Lazzarini Design
49m Chasseur Listed for Sale
The 48.80m Chasseur is now for sale with Northrop & Johnson. Chasseur was launched by Christensen Yachts in 2016. She has a fiberglass hull and a contemporary interior.She can accommodate up to 12 guests across six resplendent staterooms. Her full-beam master stateroom boasts expansive space alongside a king-sized berth, a private office, walk-in closets and an en-suite bath. The VIP stateroom has a king-sized bed with an en-suite bathroom decorated entirely in Esmeralda green onyx.In perfect harmony between rejuvenation and activity, this yacht offers plush lounge furnishings, an on-demand audio sound system and a card table within her main salon – all accented by charming wood embellishments. It also holds a custom-made Armani table and a gorgeous staircase with floating glass stairs.On her deck, Chasseur gives guests the opportunity to relax and admire the crystalline waters from the view of her massive hot tub spa, alfresco dining options and her full-height bar. Each of her outdoor spaces has sunpads with optional sunshade, allowing warmth and relaxation in the open air. With workout equipment and a large swim platform for tenders and toys, the yacht extends well beyond her serene atmosphere.She can cruise at 12 knots.The yacht is priced at USD 30,995,000.Credits: Northrop & Johnson
Explorer M25 Scheduled for Launch in Spring 2022
Turkish shipbuilder Aegean Yacht recently presented design of a new range — the trideck Aegean Explorers range, which consists of M25, M37 and M48. The company has already started to build the first Explorer M25.Explorer M25 exterior The design for the new range was devised and developed entirely in-house by the Aegean Yacht technical team and design department, who handled the concept, layout, naval architecture, marine engineering, exterior and interior design. As always at Aegean Yacht, aesthetic elegance and functionality blends into one solid boat.Explorer M25 hull Combining the capability for large passages with a generous gross tonnage of 185 GT and high quality interiors, she will allow her owners to travel the world in exceptional comfort and style. Salon Explorer M25 can accommodate up to 12 guests across six spacious staterooms, which include three full beam master staterooms, two double and one VIP cabin on board.Upper master cabinMaster cabin on the upper deck has fully private facilities including a vast sun bathing and alfresco dining area. Upper master cabinAs well as guests, four crew members will have complete privacy in their four single cabins with en-suite bathrooms. She boasts a light and airy on board ambience, created with the use of warm oak wood, marble, stainless steel and elegant upholstery. Explorer M25 exterior The first hull will be powered by twin 650 HP MAN engines. The launch of the first Explorer M25 is expected during Spring 2022. Aegean Yacht was founded in 1976. The company builds fully customized steel or aluminium hulled, displacement and semi displacement yachts ranging between 16 to 66 meters. The shipyard is located in the Bodrum, Turkey. Credits: Aegean Yacht