by Jeni Bone
It’s certainly symbolic of the shift in power, and testament to the foresight and might of China, that the Ferrari of the yachting world, Ferretti Group (under which there are eight brands: Ferretti, Pershing, Riva, Itama, Bertram, Mochi Craft, CRN and Custom Line) will soon be under the control of the state-owned parent of China’s biggest bulldozer-maker, putting the Communist nation in control of the world’s largest luxury yacht builder.
The Weichai Group and Ferretti agreement was signed off last week
Creditors will sell 75 percent of Ferretti for 178 million euros ($228 million) to Shandong Heavy Industry Group -Weichai Group. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Strategic Value Partners LLC will also own 12.5 percent stakes in the Forli, Italy-based manufacturer.
State-controlled Shandong Heavy plans to add superyachts to its construction and farming products after surging economic growth boosted China’s number of millionaire households 31 percent in 2010. The deal may help Ferretti expand in the world’s most-populous nation after a slump in sales after the 2008 financial crisis left the company close to bankrupt.
Alessandro & Norberto Ferretti
The deal, which requires approval from Italian regulators, will take three to six months to complete, Tan Xuguang, Shandong Heavy’s chairman, told reporters today. Shandong province, which controls the company, contains the city of Qingdao, a major naval base and host of the 2008 Olympic sailing regatta.
While there is still not the demand for ultra-high end yachts in China, estimates assert there are around 400 billionaires in China. The country only had about 100 Chinese-owned yachts longer than 60 feet as of May, according to the Hurun Report of wealthy Chinese, whereas there are more than 7,000 yachts that size in the US according to 2006 figures.
The Ferretti Group chairman, Norberto Ferretti, said the deal would help his company tap the global yacht market, estimated at €7 billion, or US$9 billion, 'and meet growing Chinese demand for luxury goods for the coming 5 to 10 years'.
Ferretti’s management team, headquarters and production bases will remain in Italy, both companies confirmed. Shandong Heavy said it planned to build yachts in China for the domestic market.
'China offers an opportunity to our companies, especially when our economy is not going well,' said Anton Francesco Albertoni, head of the Italian marine industry association, Ucina.
More at www.ferrettigroup.com