During 2016, an equity deal was completed between Camper & Nicholson’s (C&N) majority stakeholder, Colosseum Services, and Lai Sun Development Company (a member of the Lai Sun Group, a major player in luxury services headquartered in Asia) in which Lai Sun became a 49.9% shareholder in the company.
Following the deal’s closure, a new Chairman of C&N’s Board of Directors was announced: Dr Peter Lam, whose son, Lester Lam, was also appointed a member of the Board. Fast forward to today, and Lester Lam stands as Chairman of Camper & Nicholsons Asia - a position he has held since May 2017. Almost three years on, SuperYacht Times catches up with Mr Lam to see how things are going.Photo: Camper & NicholsonsWhen you invested in the company, where did you see the largest growth potential?
When the investment opportunity came, it was natural for us to choose such a prestigious and historical name. C&N’s presence in Europe and America is already prominent, but one area of potential growth was, and is, Asia.
Lai Sun Group, of which I am Director, is based in Hong Kong, and because of its multidimensional areas of investments and its footprint across the entire region, it will be able to inject the dynamic Asian network into C&N. We are now also able to combine the knowledge of the Lai Sun Group - whose businesses include luxury real estate developments in residential, commercial, retail and hotel projects, media and entertainment businesses and Michelin star F&B outlets across Europe, the US and Asia - with C&N, bringing the services to UHNWI to another level.The Hong Kong-based Camper & Nicholsons Asia holdings was launched back in 2017. How would you describe Hong Kong as a yachting destination?
In Hong Kong, there is an abundance of high-end products and services that can cater to the region’s extremely well-developed marina infrastructures. Despite the previous dominance of Hong Kong, in order to further develop the city as the number one yachting hub in Asia, many government regulations and structural changes are still being worked on.
We also have an office in Phuket. There is still a lot to do to push South East Asia into becoming the new playground for superyachts but the region has all it needs to grow into the place to be.Do you think that the current political situation in Hong Kong will have an impact on the Hong Kong market and buyers going forward?
The recent political unrest has certainly slowed down the economy and tourism activities. Nonetheless, the buying power is still present, along with the great will from all parties to solve the situation in the best possible way. For Hong Kong and Chinese buyers, the peak for the market is nowhere in sight, and the same goes for other countries in the region.
Smaller yacht buyers are closely monitoring the situation and they will most certainly have put their purchases on hold until the situation is resolved. Camper & Nicholsons will continue to expand our business in Asia. For myself and my fellow yacht owner friends, the sea is still our safe haven.Can you tell us more about your yacht ownership?
Yes, my family purchased their first yacht before I was born and we have owned many yachts ever since. We currently own four, located in both Hong Kong and the Mediterranean. As an owner I feel particularly close to C&N’s clients’ needs and ways of thinking when it comes to buying, managing and selling such assets.Photo: SuperYacht TimesHow actively are you involved in the day to day running of Camper & Nicholsons and do you follow the yachting market closely?
Our family certainly stays very close to the market and to the business. But in this industry, connections to the key players, such as shipbuilders, vendors, experts and marketing partners are key, therefore we have delegated industry veteran Paolo Casani to be the face of the company as our Managing Director and work closely with us on its strategic development.Do you expect your involvement in the company to be long term and do you have an exit strategy?
As passionate owners, we are in it for the long run.
This article was first featured in The SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue.