2023 Italian market overview
Our Italy Editor, Dario Schiavo, reviews the performance of the Italian yachting sector over the past year…
Before saying goodbye to 2023, here is my take on how the Italian marine market has fared this year, including sales of new and used boats, trends in the luxury sector, stock market listings and new acquisitions.
The most recent figures indicate that Italy can confirm its place as world leader in superyacht builds, setting an all-time record for production at 7.4 billion euros, as well as becoming the world’s leading exporter at 7.4 billion euros. Its supply chain employs more than 200,000 people, showing consistent growth since 2016.
During the General Assembly of Confindustria Nautica held in December 2023, the results of the forecasting survey on the sector’s performance, conducted on a significant sample of member companies, were presented. Analysing the preliminary results for the year, turnover growth compared with 2022 point to a positive closure for the Italian boating industry as a whole, with 78 per cent of the sample forecasts an improvement on or in line with the previous year.
In relation to 2023/2024, one out of every two companies in the production sector is indicating a growth in turnover. The positive trends that emerged during the autumn boat season show a differentiation in turnover trends between top-of-the-range production, which continues to grow, albeit at a more moderate pace than in 2021-2022, and small boats, which are expecting a market contraction, largely determined by economic factors such as high inflation and rising interest rates.
The sector saw some significant transactions in 2023. Among the most important was the listing on the Italian stock exchange of the Ferretti Group, which resulted in a dual listing in both Hong Kong and Milan, consolidating its international position. In addition to Ferretti, the Milan Stock Exchange listed two other Italian shipyards, Sanlorenzo and The Italian Sea Group (TISG), as well as Nautica Bellini.
In April, the Azimut Benetti Group announced the entry of the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia with a 33 per cent stake. This strategic partnership is set to drive the Group’s development, while keeping the Vitelli family at the helm.
In August, Cantiere del Pardo, after three years under the wing of the Wise Capital fund, passed its shares to the Calzedonia group. The aim of the operation is to consolidate and increase the results of the shipyard, known for its Grand Soleil sailboats as well as the launch of the Pardo Yachts motor range and the acquisition of Van Dutch.
August marked another development, with Turkish entrepreneur Baris Nalcaci acquiring the Italian brand Austin Parker, famous for the production of yachts from 44 to 85 feet. The aim is to build catamarans designed by the famous designer Pininfarina, in collaboration with architect Fulvio De Simoni, and with Giovanni Gravagno at the helm.
In September, the private group RMK Investments, headed by the tycoon Rahmi M. Koç, one of the most influential businessmen in Turkey known for his passion for the sea, acquired a majority share in Cantieri Capelli to further international development. Umberto Capelli retains a minority share and the role of CEO.
Many shipyards have assured their production until 2026/2027, and I will be reporting on all the macroeconomic news and market activity in Italy over the course of the next year.
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Following the release of the latest financial figures including Q3 2023, the Italian superyacht industry's narrative is one of robust growth and resilience