“Made in Italy Bye Bye!” read the headline of an editorial in Il Sole 24 Ore financial daily after the Chinese firm’s takeover of the world’s leading luxury yacht maker Ferretti. “Another bit of Made in Italy leaves” proclaimed the media highlighting Asia’s fast-growing taste for elegant opulence in contrast to crisis-stricken Western markets.
As orders for Ferretti flybridge motor yachts dropped off, the debt-laden company, which also owns the Pershing, Itama, Riva, and Bertram brands, has looked increasingly to Asia’s booming appetite for luxury goods.
Demand for luxury yachts in China is growing, and with a million millionaires in the country according to the May 2011 Hurun Report of wealthy Chinese, the nation’s new rich are looking for new ways to flaunt their assets.
The number of luxury powerboats and yachts in China is expected to increase by more than 10-fold to over 10,000 by 2015, said Zheng Weihang, secretary general of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
Shandong Heavy Industry, which makes commercial vehicles, construction machinery and other heavy-duty industrial products, believes Ferretti offers the company “strong strategic values,” chairman Tan Xuguang said.
“Developing the yacht business is one of the group’s strategic goals for the next five years,” Tan said, adding that Ferretti may be listed in Hong Kong within five years of the deal.
Ferretti chairman Norberto Ferretti said he welcomed the recapitalisation deal, which would provide the company with 178 million euros in equity investment and 196 million euros in debt financing.
As part of the deal, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Strategic Value Partners will each become owners of a 12.5 percent stake in the yachtmaker.