SuperYacht Times can exclusively reveal that Acico Yachts has bought the Jongert shipyard. SYT caught up with the Managing Director of Acico Yachts, Christian Bolinger, for an exclusive interview ahead of the Monaco Yacht Show, revealing the details behind the recent acquisition of Jongert by Acico Yachts, and what this means for both brands in the immediate and distant future.
When did you start looking for yards for sale? This one has been on the market for a while.
Not that long ago, actually. We started looking at the beginning of June and it went really quickly. We didn’t have the exclusive purchasing rights at the time, but shortly after that expired we placed our offer. It then went on a little with the lawyers on both sides, but I am really happy that it’s basically done now, this is a great step for us.
Do you have any projects under construction at the moment?
We currently have four projects under construction right now. They’re definitely smaller than projects we have previously worked on, so more in the 20 to 24 metre range, plus a sailing yacht of 35 metres.
Did you buy the shipyard because you needed a new facility, you wanted to have the brand, or both?
The facility is definitely part of it. When you have people coming in who want to build a 50 to 60 metre vessel, you have a completely different appearance with these amazing facilities. Further to this we will be able to optimise our building costs too as the setup is fine-tuned for yacht building, but I think for us the facility was just one part of the total. It’s really the brand. That’s extremely interesting to us.
Will you keep both Jongert and Acico?
That’s an interesting question. We actually did some research and looked at market reactions with people in the industry. With Acico Yachts we’re currently building for brands such as Drettmann as well, and we see a setup where Acico is the building party, and Jongert will be the brand to push. We’ll use it in both sailing and motor yachts, as we clearly see the added value in the Jongert brand – also for motor yachts.
Traditionally Jongert is a sailing yacht brand and Acico has mostly built motor yachts. What will you build under the Jongert brand?
Since Jongert went down the first time, there have been a lot of changes in this industry. We all know that the sailing yacht market for which Jongert had been iconic is a fraction of today’s total industry. Therefore we need will be working in both markets using the Jongert brand with its heritage.
The brand has been a bit troubled over the past ten years. Are you looking at ways to revive the brand?
Definitely. We will have Herbert Dahm as an ambassador in our setup and he will help us to regain the sphere that Jongert had before. The other really nice fact is that we at Acico Yachts have over twenty people that have been employed with Jongert for very many years before, so it’s like coming back home for them and it gives the Jongert brand its standing. Thus we are not just purchasing an empty brand but are able to give it its core value – the craftsmen building these wonderful products.
Will Herbert Dahm be an exclusive sales agent like he was in the past?
No, we’ll be working with brokers as any other shipyard does. We already have a close relationship with certain brokers. I think it’s amazing what Herbert Dahm did together with the Jongert family. This is part of our heritage, and it’s nice to close that circle by having him involved again. We see him as an ambassador to bring the name back out from the Jongert family.
Jongert had organised regattas for their yachts in the past. Will you introduce the Jongert Regatta again?
Yes, and I have a few ideas about building up owners clubs and really having a bit more of the socialising again. That’s the good thing about the sailing yacht side of the industry; you can work nicely with these regatta tools to generate a society around your product, and to kind of generate this bond between your different clients themselves. As a shipyard you’re actually quite an attractive centre point for people to utilise your network. The aim is also to bring these high net worth individuals together. It’s an interesting tool that is often forgotten as a shipyard and only now, with such a large group of Jongert owners, are we are able to build up on this asset.
Now you are building for Drettmann. Will you continue to build for other brands?
Yes, we will. Definitely, but this will all be done under the Acico brand. With a young brand as Acico Yachts still is, we had to be creative and look at partnerships. We find that building for other brands and shipyards is a good strategy to build up your pedigree in the market and grow correspondingly.
While Jongert, a well-established brand, will only build Jongert Yachts, we will not start building for any other brand using Jongert as builder.
Is the Acico Group looking at purchasing other brands?
Well this is for now certainly not in our books, we first need to carefully look at further developing a well-run setup after this new venture, and I think we need to really focus on this and take care of it. It needs to flourish before we look into others.
Jongert started the construction of a 32 metre sailing yacht. Will she be finished and is she sold already?
We have two clients that are potentially interested in it, but because it has been quite quiet with Jongert for the past few years, it’s important that we can relive this brand and to really pick up where it was left off at the peak. You want to have a yacht representing our identity again, and I believe that the 3200P is a wonderful design precisely doing this. There’s quite a lot of engineering done on it and we are certain the design will fit well into today’s market, thus we will do all to bring it onto the water soon.