Camper & Nicholsons International (C&N) has announced that Fincantieri S.p.A. has increased its shareholding in the company to 50 per cent. The investment matches that of Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Development Company Limited, which acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company in October 2016 and will play a fundamental role in facilitating its global expansion plans – most prominently, a move into Asia.
With a previous stake of less than 20 per cent, the move more than doubles the Italian shipyard’s investment after the initial equity purchase less than two years ago. The investment removes 1782 Group, formerly Colosseum Services SA of Geneva, from the shareholding and Gualtiero Giori from the board of directors.
“Camper & Nicholsons is an ongoing project,” begins Paolo Casani, managing director of C&N, in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the past couple of years, so now is the time to consolidate. I am drafting the new strategic plan for the next two-to-three years and we’re not planning any major strategic changes now. We need to stabilise all our new project ventures.”
The move also sees the departure of CEO, Michael Payne after a 22-year tenure, with his role set to be amalgamated into Paolo Casani’s role as managing director, as C&N looks to become a “next-generation brokerage house.”
Whether C&N can retain the charm of its traditional, 235-year British heritage with this new shareholder composition is ambiguous, but Casani asserts, “It’s a value we do not want to lose.” He adds: “We are now working on a new project – a Camper & Nicholsons heritage programme to help safeguard the brand’s heritage, the cultural and build knowledge for current owners and potential owners of prestigious classic yachts, inviting them to become an active part of the Camper & Nicholsons family.”
Asia is often seen as a luxury market fuelled by conspicuous consumption, and there are murmurings of Asian clients jumping in at high size ranges, as opposed to the traditional ownership route through incremental increases in size.
With Fincantieri’s prevalence in the large yacht sector, and Lai Sun’s ability to penetrate the Asian market and provide a valuable link for Asian new build clients, Fincantieri’s increase in its stake certainly makes sense.