“We are going through an evolution re-inventing ourselves,” commented Mr Stinner, who speaks fluent Arabic, English and French, and is the founder of yacht brokerage firm, Red Sea Boat Service in Egypt.
"We do not only aim at regaining our market share and regional leadership, but we are striving to enhance all our divisional activities.
"We do not want to be perceived as an average yacht dealership and service point where we have solid presence, but [instead] be recognised as the leading 360-degree 'Leisure Yachting Enterprise', from offering not only consultative sales for superyachts and luxury brands we represent, but adding qualitative value to our esteemed customer base,” he added.
Actual plans are no more than statements at present, which is to be expected from a company on the brink of transition. The main visible change so far is a new logo and tagline: "Art Marine is reborn under a brighter Star sailing new Horizons."
The new horizons still appear, for the time being at least, to be focused within the Middle East. The company has a two-pronged approach in the region; firstly, starting with the intention to reinstate itself as the regional market leader. “Regardless of what is being rumored and said about Art Marine - especially during a tough transition time before I took the helm - we all have to admit and recognise that Art Marine was always at the forefront and in pole position in the entire region,” said Stinner.
“Don't forget that, due to the recent financial crisis a few years ago, the appetite for high capital luxury spending simply disappeared. This again was reinforced by the 'Arab Spring' in those countries mostly affected.”
The second drive in the region relates to the marina operation, Art Marine Marinas. There are plans to expand into China, South East Asia and the Indian Ocean, said director of the brand, Bruno Meier. But for now, the growth focus of its marinas remains in the Middle East, adding to a local portfolio comprising Al Bandar Marina and Emirates Palace Marina in Abu Dhabi, and Reef Island Marina in Bahrain.
“In terms of local marinas, Art Marine Marinas is working on a particularly prestigious one, and soon we’ll be able to reveal [it]”, he hinted.
Meier was also positive about the potential for the Middle East as a hub for the international fleet, despite little increase in traffic reported there (1.2 per cent of yachts cruised in the Middle East in summer and winter in 2012, the lowest regional percentage of established cruising grounds, The Superyacht Report issue 139).
“We do believe that the Gulf is the prime destination for super and mega yachts, for its accessibility, its attractions and central position in global terms. The Gulf is ingeniously ever improving and it’s so centrally located that it will always be a top choice for the international fleet,” said Meier. He added however, that, although there is growth in the international fleet, “in terms of the near future, substantial numbers lie in the local fleet.”
Art Marine is owned by Abraaj Group, one of the world's largest investor of its kind, focused on high growth markets. The group has raised approximately US$7.5 billion since it was formed in 2002 and has returned approximately $3.8bn to investors.
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