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

Feadship Unveils New Future Concept During Monaco Yacht Show
Feadship will unveil its latest Feadship Future Concept at the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show. Synthesising the very latest thinking on how owners and their guests actually enjoy their time on superyachts, the 81.75m Pure is also fully future-compatible in terms of likely developments over the next decade in propulsion and efficiency.From X-stream in 2006 to Choice in 2016, Feadship regularly made waves in the superyacht sector by releasing a Future Concept. These deep dives into the likely requirements of the next generation of owners by Feadship’s designers and naval architects were all based on client’s feedback, long brainstorming sessions and in-depth research studies. An impressive number of the ideas posited by these groundbreaking concepts have since seen the light of day on Feadship builds including the hybrid propulsion pioneered by F-stream, the low fuel consumption suggested by Breathe and the desire for eco-friendly design showcased by Aeon.Five years on, a meeting of the finest Feadship minds in terms of design, engineering, innovation and construction has resulted in the striking Future Concept Pure. Featuring the purest architecture both in its sculptural exterior profile and stunning open-plan interior, Pure is designed to offer a true sense of connectivity and togetherness for all who come aboard. Every aspect of this Future Concept is based on feasible elements that Feadship is certain could be built tomorrow with adventurous clients, including the lower deck command centre which replaces the traditional bridge.Designers Jan Schaffers and Tanno Weeda will be at the Feadship stand in Monaco and will explain the technologies and explore the potential with fascinated visitors. More details on Pure will be released very soon. Feadship was formed as a group in 1949 as a marketing partnership between six Dutch shipyards, de Vries Lentch, Van de Stadt, Witsen & Vis, Akerboom, De Vries Scheepsbouw and Van Lent Shipyard, and De Voogt Naval Architects. Feadship is well-known as one of the Netherlands’ most elite yacht builders and delivers superyachts from 50–100+ meters in length.Credits: Feadship
5th Unit in 50m Series Sold by Tankoa
Tankoa Yachts has sold the fifth unit in its all-aluminium 50m series. A motor yacht with exterior lines by Francesco Paszkowski and interior design by Giorgio Cassetta. Powered by conventional diesel engines the project was started on speculation and now is 40% complete, which means an early delivery is scheduled for summer 2022. The young European client was introduced to Tankoa by Jean-Claude Carme of TWW Yachts, an experienced yacht brokerage with headquarters in Monaco. Carme will also oversee the construction of the new 50m on behalf of the owner. A swimming pool will be installed in the bow. “The hull already under construction and the proposal for a layout that included two guest suites on the main deck were decisive in completing the signing of the contract,” says Giuseppe Mazza, Tankoa Sales and Marketing Manager. “We are very happy with this further contract that consolidates our order book,” adds Vincenzo Poerio, CEO of Tankoa Yachts. “This is yet another confirmation of the success of our S501 project. For Tankoa it is the third yacht sold in the same year, something that has never happened in the history of the company. With the market so active, I'm sure it won't be the last order of 2021."Tankoa was founded in 2007 and began production in 2008. A true “boutique shipyard”, focused on building semi-custom and custom constructions 45-meter and up.Credits: Tankoa
Sanlorenzo Launches Second 62Steel and Closes Sale of Third and Fourth Units of 57Steel
Sanlorenzo Yachts closes the sale of the third and fourth units of the 57Steel and launches the second 62Steel. The 57Steel is amongst the latest additions to Sanlorenzo's superyacht fleet that are conquering the international market. An unstoppable progress that has led to the sale of the third and fourth units of the 57Steel, the latter concluded by the Bulgarian dealer Best Boats Only. Confirming Sanlorenzo's commitment to significantly reducing the impact of yacht use on the marine ecosystem, the third vessel, sold in collaboration with Russian dealer West Nautical, will be equipped with a new generation diesel-electric propulsion system that will see a significant evolution in terms of energy efficiency and reduced footprint and will be integrated with the latest generation of lithium battery and hotel management systems.The 57Steel is the result of intense typological research carried out by the shipyard together with Studio Zuccon International Project, which has led to the creation of a 56.7m long yacht with five decks and a tonnage of 1050 GT. "The versatility of use that distinguishes the spaces on board is a key element of the 57Steel, it makes it possible to satisfy the many requests of a heterogeneous and multicultural market like that of superyachts. A model in which there is no ostentation of the brand and whose external lines have a defined and extremely fluid, transparent and clear trend in which the language of the shipyard shines through. We can define 57 Steel as a skillful balancing act between content and container," says Bernardo Zuccon. The large volumes, which strongly characterise this model, have been obtained through the creation of an innovative layout that alters the traditional balance on board: the wheelhouse area, normally at the bow of the upper deck, has been relocated to an additional deck – a real bridge deck as on larger yachts – thus making it possible to use the upper deck in a different way.This is where the owner's cabin is located, a 54 sq. m space overlooking the very large owner deck, a private deck from which to enjoy an exclusive view of the infinite sea. The new layout has also made it possible to create a spacious full-beam VIP cabin at the bow of the main deck, which can be used as a second owner's cabin. One of the features most appreciated of the 57Steel is the 110 sq. m beach area, created by opening hatches on three sides which become small beaches on the water's edge, illuminated by the transparent-bottomed swimming pool on the main deck, and the decision to place the garage at the bow, which has made it possible to create a large space equipped to house tenders of up to 7.5m and numerous toys.At the same time as the sale of the two 57Steels, Sanlorenzo launches the second unit of the 62Steel, a 61.5m superyacht with a maximum beam of 11.9m, a gross tonnage of 1300 tonnes and five decks.This model is full of comfortable spaces that provide a truly special experience for Sanlorenzo owners in their private moments of loisir. Starting from the vast private area of the owner's suite, a good 215 sq. m, on the upper deck, which, in addition to enjoying an unparalleled 180° panoramic view, is linked to the outdoor area in the bow of over 140 sq. m, with large sunbathing and relaxation areas and a swimming pool. An entire deck for the exclusive use of the owner. A private beach which extends under cover for 92 sq. m, with areas to relax, a bar area, gym and hammam, plus another 40 sq. m of folding terraces aft and on both sides that offer guests the chance to enjoy the sea "au fil de l'eau" for swimming, diving and sunbathing enhanced by the shimmering sea. To completely free up space in the beach area, the 62Steel has been designed with two garages with access through lateral openings, midship, which contain the main 9m tender to starboard and the service tender and jet ski to port. The first unit in the line 62Steel, motor yacht Cloud 9 will be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show from 22 to 25 September.Sanlorenzo was founded in 1985 in Viareggio by yacht builder Gionvanni Jannetti. In 2005, Massimo Perrotti became the majority shareholder in the shipyard. Sanlorenzo builds yachts ranging from 28.6 to 62 meters in length. Credits: Sanlorenzo
110m Hybrid Superyacht Concept Revealed by Cristiano Mariani
The Italian designer Cristiano Mariani revealed his newest 110m concept with a hyrbid propulsion system. It was named the CMA 110 Luxury Cruise Yacht and has a floodable basin aft, with a stern garage large that can hold a tender of 24 meters.The 110m megayacht can accommodate up to 34 guests in 17 cabins, including owner’s cabin and eight VIP suites. The owner has its own private deck. The yacht features an infinity pool, three hot tubs, a 124 sq. m gym, a helipad at the bow, a squash club, a spa, a spacious beach club and a 100 sq. m cinema. The megayacht sustainable propulsion system gives her a top speed of 18 knots and a cruising speed of 16 knots. Cristiano Mariani works with the shipyards like CRN, ISA Yachts and Wally, he also had a direct collaboration with the Zuccon International Project. In recent years he has been working on explorer and sport utility vessel projects directly with the owners in collaboration with MMYB, by Marcello Maggi.Credits: Cristiano Mariani
65m Performance Ketch To Be Built by Royal Huisman
The joint team of Royal Huisman, Dykstra Naval Architects and Mark Whiteley Design has announced the newbuild agreement for a 65m performance ketch rigged sailing yacht.A period of concept design and development by the experienced owners’ team, architects and builder has been successfully completed and signed off at the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show. The creation of this stunning superyacht is now focused on multidisciplinary design and engineering, which are the subsequent steps of Royal Huisman’s efficient Stage Gate process project management and Concurrent Engineering approach. This will bring the project to readiness for the next big step: the start of the construction at Royal Huisman’s newbuild facilities in Vollenhove, The Netherlands. One of the main areas of focus for this ketch rigged sailing yacht is the optimisation of performance: Alustar aluminium construction, carbon rig, and an integrated sailing system by Rondal have been specified to enhance winning potential on the superyacht regatta circuit.“We are honoured that this client has entrusted Royal Huisman with the realisation of his dream – a truly beautiful and unique yacht. Project 408 fits perfectly within our growing newbuild portfolio of exceptional sailing and motoryacht projects,” says Jan Timmerman, Royal Huisman’s CEO. Limited information is currently available. Further updates with more details will be released in the months ahead. Royal Huisman is a Dutch shipyard established since 1884 in Ronduite, building and refitting custom luxury sailing and motor yachts at its shipyard in Vollenhove, the Netherlands.Credits: Royal Huisman