For the second consecutive year, SuperYacht Times hosted a half-day seminar on the superyacht new-build and refit sector during the Seatec 2020 event, hosted in Marina di Carrara and organised by IMM-CarraraFiere in collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency (ITA). Powered by data from SuperYacht Times’ in-house information system - SuperYacht Times iQ - the following breaks down the key findings that were discussed in the three panels. Opening with a presentation of the key statistics on the world’s superyacht fleet, the refit market and sales of used superyachts, the numbers revealed that the world’s superyacht fleet of yachts over 30 metres currently amounts to roughly 5,090 yachts. New yacht sales throughout 2019 amounted to 162 yachts - which is considerably lower than the 198 new yachts sold in 2018 - and the market segment of 60 to 80-metre yachts showed a favourable exception as sales rose from 11 yachts in 2018 to 17 yachts in 2019. Photo: IMM_CarrarafiereItalian shipyards seemed to dominate the market of new-build yachts of up to 60 metres, constituting a share of 58% of yachts currently in-build between 30 and 40 metres and 52% of in-build yachts between 40 and 60 metres. Regarding the refit market, SuperYacht Times’ intelligence team tracked more than 3,300 yacht refits in the 30-metre plus segment between 2016 and 2019, concluding that Italy is one of the top refit destinations. With 38 yards involved in refits throughout 2019, a total of 235 yacht visits were recorded at Italian refit yards.Panel 1: Trends in refit
The first panel, ‘trends in refit’, was hosted alongside three experts from the superyacht refit industry - Chiara Pardini from Seven Stars Marina & Shipyard, Daniele Di Giampaolo from Amico & Co. and Rob Papworth from MB92 La Ciotat - who offered the audience valuable insights into current trends in the refit sector.
The panel members discussed an increased demand for refit works, quicker turnarounds as owners demand results in shorter timespans, and a more professional industry as larger yachts are coming in for refit works. The experts also noted that business is still growing, which has been enabled by the large investments that have been made in refit shipyards over recent years. Photo: IMM_CarrarafierePanel 2: Refit and new-build: a winning combination?
The second panel focused on shipyards that offer new constructions and refit works within the same company. Giangiacomo Zino from T.Mariotti S.p.A., Giulio Pennacchio of NCA Refit, Marcela De Kern Royer of ICON Yachts and Marzio Rucconi of Palumbo Shipyards Superyacht Refit were the speakers.
The panel discussed the pros and cons of combining new-build and refit work within the same company, how it works in practice, and why shipyards are choosing to combine the two.
Within this discussion, the experts explained that the practice began in response to an increase in customer demand. Yet they also emphasised that combining the two disciplines requires a lot of flexibility from shipyards. Refits tend to require a lot of manpower in a short timespan, while working hours on new-build yachts tend to be more spread out.
In addition, they also discussed how post-sales services to new-build yachts and refit works on different yachts tend to be completely separate activities by nature, meaning that a shipyard might work on a refit and new-build activities on the same site, while keeping the two as unique entities. In contrast to this, other yards take on a more flexible approach, combining the two activities.
Panel 3: Investing in shipyards: a good choice?
The third and final panel discussed the various reasons behind shipyard investments, whether they are profitable, and what kinds of investors take the plunge, with Armando Branchini from EY / Fondazione Altagamma, Stefano Talamonti from Wider Yachts and Stewart Parvin from Cantiere Rossini leading the discussion.
The panel regarded private investors with long-term targets as the best types of investors in superyacht refit and new-build yards. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) were not seen as being very lucrative as the return on investment (ROI) is often not at the level shareholders are accustomed to from other investments. Renewed entry of private equity into yacht building was not completely ruled out by panel members, as there are some private equity funds today which take a more long-term view and are willing to take the plunge. Finally, the panel noted that, in their experience, banks were reluctant to loan money to shipyards. Photo: IMM_Carrarafiere