Exclusive interview: Franco Fusignani
We speak to the Benetti CEO about his strategic vision for the next chapter in Benetti's story…
The recent delivery of Benetti's flagship, 108m FB275 capped a remarkable period of our industry's most prolific brand, which has seen its entry into the 100m-plus market, accompanied by bold assertions on behalf of its management that this is a market Benetti will stamp its authority on, like it has so many size-sectors of the market.
On conclusion of this symbolic period, we spoke exclusively to Benetti CEO, Franco Fusignani about what's coming next...
Can you summarise the latest round of restructuring in the group’s infrastructure?
Aside from the 11 stations available in our shipyard in Viareggio, Benetti owns one of the biggest yards in the world, in Livorno. Here, we have eight sheds that are capable of building yachts up to 80 metres, and another three sheds, two of which boast top-end technology, capable of building giga yachts.
Furthermore, the refit area hosts a ship lift capable of hauling yachts up to 2,700 tons, a 180-metre floating dock. And, for the comfort and the convenience of our clients and their staff, the Livorno shipyard is fitted with an ENAC [Italian Civil Aviation Authority]-certified helipad.
What has catalysed the strategic changes?
The investments made in recent years were undertaken to help us produce the highest quality product, in collaboration with our suppliers, by giving them the necessary space to work, with workshops in and around the yachts. Alongside this, we have maximised the support given to our clients and the surveyors, so as to optimise the final result. The same line of reasoning has been applied to Lusben’s refit and repair area, with the aim of creating the finest infrastructure available in the Mediterranean Sea.
For how long will this future-proof the shipyard?
In the past 19 years we climbed to the the top of this industry, setting the stage for our future, which will be expressed in the short-term with the launch of new products: Diamond 145, Oasis 40M and BNow models. Oasis 40M is a yacht designed by RWD, based on a new concept that offers a contemporary take on the use of indoor and outdoor spaces, for an owner in search of a distinctly informal relationship with the sea. Diamond 145, the flagship of the Class category fleet, designed in collaboration with Giorgio M. Cassetta, is a yacht with a sophisticated design that represents the ultimate expression of displacement models in the Class category. The BNow models are custom yachts, again designed in collaboration with RWD, created to offer a modern on-board lifestyle by connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. Benetti’s advanced construction technology ensures short delivery times.
How will this transform the regional new build and refit markets, and the global market for superyachts?
Our production range is vast: we are able to deliver fibreglass yachts from the class collection, as well as full-custom yachts with steel hulls and aluminium superstructures from 45- up to 100- metres-plus. In this range we have four BNow models and the FB700 custom yacht with built-in hulls. In order to build this range of yachts we have reached a high level of customisation, along with reduced delivery times.
What do the clients of tomorrow demand from a superyacht facility?
A client of Benetti receives an all-round experience. In order to design the interior and the exterior of the yacht, Benetti takes advantage of high-quality products and the professionalism of our design team. We also offer collaborations with renowned designers.
Furthermore, our yachts feature an incredibly high level of technology on board, encompassing the latest products in terms of domotics, stabilisation systems and audio and video systems. Thanks to Yachtique, the A|B Group exclusive service for owners, we can suggest the best solutions to our clients for the yacht’s decoration and the furnishing. On top of that, thanks to our special location, in Tuscany, Benetti can deliver a unique customer experience to our clients.
And how does a future-thinking shipyard adapt its business model to influence the maintenance lifecycle of tomorrow’s yachts?
In the past years we had the opportunity to build three gigayachts in parallel, and launched them in in 100 days. From this we learnt a lot about team and time management, as well as technology. The ‘Giga Season’ gave us the opportunity to enter into the gigayacht market.
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