Dubai deal and shiplift enhance MB92's portfolio
Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO of MB92 Group, explains how the Dubai facility complements a period of unprecedented growth for the refit specialists…
MB92 Group has had a busy few months. After announcing that it will be joining forces with Al Seer Marine and P&O Marinas to develop a superyacht refit and repair facility in Dubai, it has also put in place a 4,300-tonne shiplift in La Ciotat. Unsurprisingly, MB92 is now expecting increased activity and a positive knock-on effect on local employment.
It was just before the Monaco Yacht Show that the three companies announced that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with the view of setting up a joint venture to develop the first dedicated superyacht refit and repair facility in the UAE. SuperyachtNews had the chance to speak with Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO of MB92 Group at the time, with the full interview available below. The shipyard construction is scheduled for completion in 2026, with superyacht repair and refit services available from next year as the start of this strategic plan.
Al Seer Marine has been looking to develop a world-class superyacht service centre and refit shipyard in the UAE since 2019, and after discussions with P&O Marinas in Dubai, it believes it has found the perfect strategic partner to bring the project to fruition. Now, with MB92 Group as the third partner and the chosen operator of the shipyard, this new facility will provide an alternative migration pattern for superyachts. Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO of MB92 Group, says, “Creating a world-class refit shipyard from scratch, in the dynamic hub of Dubai and the Gulf, represents a very exciting and unique opportunity for our Group, which has been on our strategic agenda for several years.
Jean-Marc Bolinger, CEO of MB92 Group
“It will enable us to expand the footprint of our first-class facilities and provide our clients in the region with the same level of service and support they receive and expect in Barcelona and La Ciotat. We look forward to presenting the details of this exciting joint venture to our key stakeholders in the coming months.”
Gunther Alvarado, chief operating officer of Al Seer Marine, adds, “Leading this powerful partnership is part of Al Seer Marine’s overall investment strategy and vision for the Gulf region. With some of the most complex superyachts owned and operated in the region, we will have a world-class facility with leading suppliers and subcontractors that will serve their requirements.”
This is, of course, a massive piece of good news for the entire superyacht industry. Once construction is complete, the Gulf could potentially be just as popular with superyachts as regions such as the Caribbean and The Mediterranean.
Hamza Mustafa, chief operating officer of P&O Marinas, says, “The UAE is the ideal location to service the Gulf region’s growing number of superyacht owners. Dubai has developed its reputation over the years as a top destination for luxury yachting with the creation of several high-end marinas.
“We already look after some of the most exclusive and advanced yachts at Mina Rashid Marina. With the development of a new service centre and refit shipyard, the UAE and Dubai’s offering as a hub for yacht owners will be even more attractive.”
Meanwhile, MB92 La Ciotat’s new 4,300-tonne Atlas ship lift was officially christened by Martine Vassal, President of Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence, and the inauguration was attended by representatives from La Ciotat Shipyards, La Ciotat City Hall, Région Sud, Département des Bouches du Rhône and MB92.
Speaking during the event, Bolinger hailed the inauguration of Atlas as “a historic moment for our shipyard and for the people of La Ciotat. It’s the beginning of a new era and we are excited to be a part of the continuing development of the site so that it can secure its position as the world’s leading centre for superyacht refit.”
Eight superyachts have already been welcomed since the yard opened its doors at the end of September. The new platform, which represents a total investment of €47.5 million for the Group, has accommodated these yachts for a variety of works and is expected to generate a significant increase in activity for the shipyard with a positive knock-on effect on local employment, whether directly with MB92 or indirectly with the increasing network of local subcontractors.
In addition, local commerce in La Ciotat, such as restaurants, hotels and shops, will see a sharp increase in business, thanks not only to the additional employees on site but also to the increase in the number of crew staying at the facilities.
In total, it’s estimated that MB92’s activity in La Ciotat will be responsible for more than 900 full-time employees by 2024 (737 direct and indirect employees for the shipyard, 168 employees for local commerce), an increase of close to 50 per cent from 2021, and a large majority will be based in La Ciotat.
Ben Mennem, CEO of MB92 La Ciotat, concludes, “MB92 La Ciotat is firmly rooted locally, with deep ties to the sea and a strong maritime heritage. The shipyard plays a central role in developing career opportunities for young talent and works alongside educational establishments to strengthen this link with our traditions and raise the technicity and professionalism of the local workforce.”
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