SuperyachtNews.com speaks exclusively with Patrick Coote, Blohm+Voss’ (B+V) newly appointed managing director of its Monaco office, about the shipyard's aggressive investment programme, the expansion and streamlining of operations, which involves merging the two existing divisions, and the importance of a new-age warranty programme.
“By bringing together the refit and new build divisions we are able to pool all the best talent and knowledge, not just from a project management standpoint but also from the engineering and construction perspectives,” starts Coote.
In previous years B+V’s new build and refit sectors have been operated as separate entities, but it is hoped that the merging of the two critical factions will usher in an era of clarity and effectiveness. As well amalgamating the two branches, the entire engineering team will now be based in Hamburg, rather than being split between the aforementioned and Kiel.
In addition, B+V is also in the process of establishing a permanent base in Monaco, where Coote will oversee operations as managing director, with Fred van Beers remaining CEO in Hamburg.
“For the last two-and-a-half years all of our sales and marketing enquiries worldwide, have been handled through our Monaco office, but without Blohm and Voss on the door,” continues Coote. “Setting up a permanent base is the creation of a Monaco registered company and signals the expansion of our company.”
Coote highlights that while Northern Europe is undeniably a superyachting hub for new build activity, it is not a hub for purchasing enquiries. “Northern Europe is not where the captains are, it is not really where the clients are and it is certainly not where the brokers are. The major yachting capitals of the world, in terms of where new build conversations are held, are the south of France, London, Miami, Moscow and the Middle East,” he explains. “While not every shipyard does this, we feel it is beneficial to have a presence in those markets.
Beyond the Monaco office B+V also has aspirations to expand across various other countries and continents, though the mode by which they will do this is yet to be finalised. But the key target markets in discussion are the Americas and the Middle East. “Whether we set up offices, employ agents, work through dealers or develop relationships with brokers, is still under investigation,” continues Coote. “But having a presence is certainly important to us.”
In order to further strengthen the sales process, on 9 February, it was announced that Joris Neven, formerly of Damen, Chatier Piriou and Royal IHC, has been welcomed into the fold as director of sales. Neven and Coote will work closely, from Hamburg and Monaco respectively, to facilitate future growth.
A central element of B+V’s investment programme has been the development of the eagerly anticipated BV80 project. “We have three sections almost completed now,” says Coote. “We have had plenty of interest and it is continuously increasing. I believe that the BV80 is the only 80m project currently on the market with a delivery time of 2018.”
Another feature of B+V’s development is the introduction of a superyacht lifecycle management programme. “This really stemmed from Fred van Beers' commercial experience. Fred was shocked that superyachts operated a 12-month warranty programme,” says Coote. “Amazing that you can get a toaster on warranty for three years but a superyacht is only covered for 12-months!”
B+V is attempting to absorb the complexity of the warranty process in order to simplify and improve the programmes for the end consumer. Coote points out that a superyacht is the sum of its parts, parts that are created and installed by an extremely large number of subcontractors.
In order to operate an effective long-term warranty programme it is necessary to have the vast majority of subcontracters on board, offering extended warranties. “We are aiming to to provide a very simple and easily digestible assurance to our clients that we only work with people who we trust and we only work with people who offer long-term warranties.”
In closing Coote clarifies that Star Captial, B+V’s parent, is investing heavily in the business and is committed to long-term growth.
SuperyachtNews.com is pleased to unveil Blohm+Voss as a gold partner of SuperyachtDESIGN Week, taking place in London from 28-30 June.