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 58m Project Phoenix Has Been Listed for Sale
The 57m former cable laying vessel is ready to be transformed into an expedition superyacht. The yacht was launched in Holland in 1968 by the E.J. Smit & Zoon shipyard. After over 30 years of successful commercial sailing, she has been stripped to her bare steel framework and is now prepared for a large scale conversion project. Following the transformation, she will sail as a luxurious superyacht, whilst preserving her excellent seakeeping abilities that once made her a successful cable laying ship.The project will be undertaken by Turkish shipyard ICT Yachts. The team will be full of superyacht experts such as Frank Laupman’s Omega Architects and the naval architecture has been penned by Van Oossanen Naval Architects.Project Phoenix can accommodate 12 guests in six staterooms, private owner deck is included. The yacht will be able to reach a top speed of 13.5 knots and will have a range of 11,000 nautical miles. Project Phoenix is now for sale with Ocean Independence. Her asking price is 29 500 000 euro. Credits: Ocean Independence
Kurt Strand Most Amazing Concepts
Florida based Norwegian designer Kurt Strand has revealed a number of interesting superyacht concepts. We picked up three of them. Miami 133m Miami is the explorer yacht with six decks. She has a 20m beam. She’s made for the ultimate yachting experience and has everything for an active-lifestyle – a large selection of water toys, including two tenders, two helicopter pads, two Mercedes G 6X6 off road trucks. She also features a 360 degree all-round view sky bar, a cinema and a night club. Miami can accommodate 20 guests in ten cabins. She has a top speed of 20 knots. Aurora Borealis 122m Aurora Borealis is a 122m explorer inspired by Norwegian nature. The yacht is 6-storeys high, has a length of 122m and a massive 20m beam. A large helicopter pod is located on the aft deck. In front of the landing pod is a swimming pool with a retractable glass floor, to move the helicopter inside the hangar, large enough to park two helicopters. Accommodation is for 20 guests and 48 crew and has a huge selection of tenders and toys. In the aft is a drive-in bay area for a submarine and a 45 feet tender. The owners will enjoy a 180 degree view from the 400 sq m suite with outdoor hot tub, gym, spa, office, library, wine cellar. She can reach a top speed of 20 knots. Florida 160m Florida is the 160m sailing superyacht concept. It has a space age technology wing masts made from carbon fiber. Three 80m tall wing sails are electro-hydraulic telescopic retractable. If that alone isn’t beyond spectacular, the wing sails are even covered with the latest state of art solar panels. In case of no wind this superyacht can transform into "solar sail" mode. The control system will automatically adjust the sails into an optimal angel against the sun rays. When it's windy, the yacht gets into sail mode and can also produce electric power from solar panels. To always keep the sun absorbing surface high glossy, a built-in system will wash and polish the wing mast every time it retracts. The “solar sails” can even be raised when the yacht is laying in a harbour. It will turn the sails automatically away if wind comes up. Power will be stored in the battery bank and can be used for the onboard Hydrogen production as well.At the bottom of the yacht are fitted hydro generators, which also produce electric power while the yacht is moving under sail. All electric power produced will be stored in a 5MW battery bank and can be used to create Hydrogen directly on board of the yacht . In case of no wind or sunshine the yacht can be run on hydrogen fuel power cells. The yacht also has a backup genset system, running on fossil fuel. However fossil fuel will be rarely used, depending on where in the world the yacht is situated.Sail yacht Florida provides an ultimate, luxury water travel experience. She will accommodate up to 24 guests in 12 luxury suites and 40 crew members.Credits: Kurt Strand
The Republic of Marshall Islands Have Changes Its Yacht Code
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Yacht Code (the “Code”) has been updated. Here is the 2021 updates: • new requirements for modern design elements such as underwater glazing for observation lounges and glazed bulwarks; • helicopter landing areas (Annex 2 of the Code) revised throughout with alternative standards for firefighting; • shipyards now have the possibility to apply for a Helicopter Landing Area Technical Certificate (HLATC) issued by an Aviation Inspection Body (AIB); • a more practical approach for submersible launching; • a practical approach to structural fire protection for Category 2 yachts; • modified rescue boat requirements to provide a practical alternative standard for yachts < 500 gross tons; • updated radio equipment requirements; • modified firefighting appliances to provide alternative standards when taking the typical size of the yacht into consideration; and • safe working practices for working over the side and man-riding cranes were clarified and addressed to meet national requirements. International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), who provide administrative and technical support to the RMI Maritime and Corporate Registries, organized an RMI Yacht Technical Working Group (YTWG) to make recommended amendments to the Code. Marc Verburg, IRI’s Fleet Operations Manager, Yachts, led the YTWG whose members consisted of representatives from the RMI Registry, Classification Societies, yacht managers, naval architects, surveyors, maritime safety consultants, and aviation experts. The Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) was also instrumental in the review of the amendments to the Code. “It was a privilege to work with such a global team of experts. The Registry truly appreciates their assistance with the amendments to the Code which now further reflects the recent changes in the market, from a practical approach to helicopter landing areas and facilities to the use of glass without compromising safety,” said Marc Verburg. “The 2021 version of the Code allows builders and designers to create innovative and safe superyachts to a practical standard,” he continued. In 2020 SYBAss members were responsible for the construction of almost 60% of 40 meter or more yachts delivered worldwide. “We are an innovative industry which embraces new technologies and materials, so we’re pleased to see this reflected in this forward-looking update of the Code. It takes a practical approach to the requirements of the superyacht industry and is fully aligned with the mission of the International Maritime Organization,” said Lorenzo Pollicardo, Technical and Environmental Director, SYBAss. “The RMI offers many options for yacht owners in terms of registration and operation through the various chapters of the Code,” said Patrick Bachofner, IRI’s Director, Geneva Office and Worldwide Director, Yachts. “The practical amendments brought forward in this revision to the Code once again set the RMI yacht registry apart from others,” he concluded.Credits: Wikipedia; Kurt Cotoaga/Unsplash
The Classic Maxi Cadamà Celebrates Her 50th Birthday
Cadamà, the world’s only wooden Maxi for the physically impaired, races with a mixed crew of wheelchair-bound and able-bodied sailors. She was built 50 years ago in mahogany and iroko by the Beconcini Yard in La Spezia. Designed by Laurent Giles, she was launched in 1951 for the then president of A.C. Milan, Albino Buticchi. Since 2014, Cadamà belongs to Andrea Brigatti. Despite being confined to a wheelchair after an accident, Brigatti continues to go to sea and teach the sport of sailing. Andrea BrigattiMaking his dreams come true, beginning this June “Altura Senza Barriere” will be the first offshore sailing school for the disabled aboard a classic wooden Maxi.She has an overall length of 22 meters and a beam of just over 5 meters. Rigged as a ketch, Cadamà has 300 square meters of sail area, with a 30 meter tall mainmast and a 17 meter mizzen. This year’s program will include participating in the “Vele d’Epoca nel Golfo”, the third edition of the rally for classic and vintage yachts organized by the Italian Classic Yachting Association (AIVE) in Le Grazie (near Porto Venere) from June 4th to the 6th. Since she was launched in 1971, Cadamà is qualified to race in the Classic division (for yachts from 1950 and 1975) in all the yachting events of the season, and the “Vele d’Epoca nel Golfo” will feature a celebration on her 50th anniversary. On the following weekend, June 11-13th, together with the association “Timonieri Sbandati”, Cadamà is organising “Altura Senza Barriere” (No Barriers to Offshore), the first offshore sailing course for disabled sailors. The crew of Cadamà and two Italian National Sailing Association (FIV) instructors will accompany the participants as they sail offshore, taking turns at the helm and the sheets. The start on the 11th will be from Viareggio, the night of the 12th will spent in port in Le Grazie, with the finish on the 13th back in Viareggio. Participants will receive an official certificate upon their return. The organising team’s intention is that this will be the first of many further editions!Cadamà is available for charter. Her three permanent crew members are well versed in the needs of up to a maximum of seven guests, with a spacious triple-berth cabin with its own head aft and two twin-berth cabins with a shared head forward. Credits: Paolo Maccione
Family Vacation: Best Watersports To Try On a Superyacht Charter
We’ve all heard about the marvellous trips we can take on charter yachts, but what can families do together on a yacht holiday? Here’s a small guide for some excellent charter choices based on Burgess' expertise. Trying out new watersports or taking in the magnificence of the natural world, both above and below the surface, is always a great idea! SnorkellingSnorkelling is a popular pastime with guests on many charter yachts because it can be enjoyed by the whole family, with relatively little skill required. Especially when on Attitude. She’s a great base for a snorkel safari, as she has a relatively shallow draft that can take you close to the best snorkelling spots, where you can dive straight off the swim platform to explore a nearby reef.WaterslidesInflatable waterslides are a really popular feature of many charter yachts today, as they offer a thrilling activity straight from the top deck of your yacht that children love. Waterslides are child friendly, safe and fun – and make fantastic shots for social media. Titania has a 13m waterslide and is always a favourite that guests come back to time and again for entertainment. KayakingKayaking provides a relaxing watersports experience in a peaceful, motor-free environment. Whether you’re heading out for a short solo paddle or bringing everyone along for a half-day’s guided expedition, kayaking is a great workout, as well as a chance to get closer to nature.Latitude can visit remote areas and provide the most breathtaking kayaking experiences. In the right surroundings, kayaking can feel like you are stepping into your own private National Geographic documentary.Scuba divingThere’s no feeling on earth like the harmony of scuba diving in pristine waters teeming with sea life, and with a charter yacht you can gain access to the kinds of dive sites that are rarely visited by others. Whether you base your entire family vacation around scuba diving, or see it as an added bonus, there is a wealth of choice available when it comes to luxury yacht charters.The spacious and luxurious Hemisphere catamaran has two diving instructors in its crew and is certified as a PADI dive training centre. AquaparkExcellence has an aquapark on board, so why not challenge the whole family to a race on board a giant, floating aquapark to see who earns the title ‘champion of the seas’? The crew will be sure to keep things fun, as well as safe by providing life jackets for everyone. TrampolineAs an extension of your Aquapark or as a standalone feature, a trampoline is a safe and fun activity that will keep guests of all generations entertained for hours on end. Not only is it fun, but it’s a great workout, too. Practice your aerial skills by flipping and leaping to your heart’s content while burning off a particularly indulgent lunch on board. The elegant Dream can be a super-fun superyacht to charter. Included in her large array of watertoys is a water trampoline as well as a giant inflatable slide, an anti-jellyfish pool, surfboards and even a windsurfer, meaning you can go home with a new skill as well as all the amazing memories of your trip.Credits: Burgess