In a statement released on January 29, Tilli Antonelli, founder and CEO of Wider, has confirmed Wider’s interest in the purchase of ISA Yachts and its assets. In the statement Antonelli confirmed that he and co-founder Paolo Favilla have been “deep in negotiations” with ISA for some time and that the statement aims to “avoid any possible misunderstanding.”
Wider’s proposition, which was received by the relevant parties earlier this month, includes a formal offer to buy the facility and its brand, as well as financial and business plans.
The purchase of ISA would include the shipyard, the concession of the land from the local port authority and a commercial proposition that seeks to satisfy the requirements set forth by the workers’ unions.
When ISA went out of business and into administration in 2015 there were over 100 employees at the yard, and these employees are currently reliant on state wage subsidies as a result of ISA’s administration. Wider will need to show the relevant unions that its growth ambitions include the continued employment of these individuals.
Wider’s ambitions also include the desire to work on simultaneous superyacht projects and diversify its portfolio.
ISA’s four sheds, which are bigger than the current facilities at Wider’s disposal, will allow the yard to build large projects, up to 80m, which is, as Antonelli’s statement implies, the nature of at least some of the requests the yard receives.
“This facility would give us the ability to expand our production capacity to meet all future demands, both for diesel electric yachts under the Wider brand or using the ISA name for more traditional yachts,” he said.
Wider, however, is not the only company to have expressed interest in the purchase of ISA. The Frittelli Maritime Group’s owner, Alberto Rossi, has also shown interest in acquiring the yard. The onus is now on all relevant parties to assess the validity of both offers.
Wider has strong financial backing in the form of it’s Malaysian investor, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and his Genting Group, and he has expressed his interest in pushing forward the fledgling Italian brand. As such, he is said to be keen to complete the ISA investment.
Although there are challenges ahead for Wider to finalise the deal, Antonelli said he believes this is a clear indication of Wider’s future ambitions. A decision is expected to be reached the end of July 2016.