Denison Yachting on the European market
Bob Denison and Jeremy Roche reflect on the firm’s European performance, current market trends and imminent challenges live at the Monaco Yacht Show…
Following its expansion to Europe in April 2022, Denison Yachting’s President, Bob Denison and Jeremy Roache, Denison Europe’s Director, announced that the firm has secured 13 yacht sales, totalling around €70m. With 21 current listings valued at €90m, the two industry veterans discuss the new division's results, goals, challenges, industry trends and the differences between the American and European markets at the Monaco Yacht Show 2023.
“Our results reflect the success we have enjoyed in our short time in Europe. Of course, there have been some challenges, with most companies moving to the US market having been readily established in Europe and we have done it the other way around. But this has offered us a unique perspective,” says Denison. “The great results are mainly down to Jeremey Roche who is leading the charge with his scrappy entrepaneur attitude, and Ben Farnborough, Denison Yachting’s Chief Operating Officer, whose vision was to expand into the European Market from the US.”
According to Dension, one of the key differences he has noticed between European and American buyers is the sales cycle. “Buyers in the US tend to be far quicker and faster acting when it comes to doing business. As a people, we seem to be more ready to sign on the dotted line,” he says. “Europeans are different. Buyers here are usually more patient and thoughtful when making a big decision and finalising a deal.”
Whilst the firm’s European division hasn’t yet reached the same numbers as its US team, there has been significant progress in the region. “We are very, very excited about the prospects of Europe,” adds Denison. “We have just expanded our office, which is three times bigger than the original Monaco office with ten new members of staff, simply because we are experiencing increasing sales, more charters and rising interest in the company, as well as growing our inventory.”
Notably, two of Denison Europe’s sales new build sales are a Princess Y85 delivered in July this year and a 50m Dynamiq which will be delivered in March 2025. “The 13 boats we have sold may not be that much when compared with the sales figures from our US counterparts, but considering we have started from scratch in a new market, we are incredibly pleased with our progress,” says Roche. “We had several opportunities to acquire other firms here in Europe, but we opted to start the office anew and grow a more organic client base and presence.”
Roche continues to add that whilst people within superyachting recognise the Denison brand, the principal challenge the new branch faces is gaining the recognition in Europe it has in the US. “People in the industry and the US know that we have sold over 900 boats last year and thousands of yachts in the two years before that. So our team in the US are constantly getting enquiries, whilst we are really having to work on establishing our brand name amongst buyers in Europe.”
This year, the company has also made advancements on the charter side of the business, with charter management joining its offering as of January 2023. “We are trying to offer the full range of services that we have in the states in Europe too,” says Roche, adding that Denison holds eight charter yachts in its European fleet, the largest of which is the 51m Yildizlar yacht, Aresteas. “So now we provide sales, charter, charter management, and are looking to expand to yacht management too by the end of the year.”
Looking back at the recent charter season, Roche admits that it did not meet his expectations, but he also says that it appears to have been reflected across the industry. However, his outlook for next year is more optimistic with multiple bookings and enquiries for 2024 already.
Denison highlights that whilst charter may have slumped slightly, he has seen a continued uptick in payments in cryptocurrency. The company has completed 14 sales and charter transactions through the digital tender, with the Floridan noting that the European market has only increased its cryptocurrency interests.
“I expect that by the time Monaco comes around this year, that number will jump to around 25. That’s how much interest there has been,” says Dension. “Cryptocurrency is stabilising. Year to date, it is more or less a 5% increase or minus, so it is becoming less volatile and something we are really interested in.
Looking towards the future, Dension says he is approaching the next few months with cautious optimism in light of current market conditions. “The outlook for the next few months is uncertain for sure,” he says. “We, as an industry, are still struggling with the lack of inventory. Not just in terms of what the shipyards are building, but also boats that are privately listed. It is a real battle for yacht brokers at this moment in time.
Lack of inventory has become a prominent pain point within the industry, and it is likely to continue over the next few quarters. However, industry experts at the Monaco Yacht Show this year anticipate that this will begin to normalise next year. This means more yachts at shows, more boats for sale, and hopefully, more people buying them.
“You are still seeing boats at prices that the buying public doesn’t want so that definitely is a struggle that we have to deal with,” adds Denison. “However, long term we are bullish. More people are reaching the age of retirement, so there is a lot of money on the sidelines, and we foresee our industry being very comfortable for the next half-decade or so.”
You can find more data and information on brokers’ reviews and forecasts of the sales market in the latest edition of The Superyacht Owners Report, featuring comments from Ben Farnborough of Dension Yachting and other leading brokers.
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