- Business - In conversation with Giovanni Costantino

By Dario Schiavo

In conversation with Giovanni Costantino

The founder and CEO of The Italian Sea Group speaks with Dario Schiavo about its future plans and investments…

Giovanni Costantino, founder and CEO of The Italian Sea Group

Giovanni Costantino first ventured into the yachting industry in 2009. With his earlier career as an entrepreneur beginning in construction, Costantino transitioned to the world of furniture. After 12 years in the sofa industry, he felt the call back to his entrepreneurial origins, hungry for fresh challenges. Fate, perhaps, had boating in store for him, as a series of coincidences led him to the acquisition of the Tecnomar brand.

This first acquisition was followed by that of Admiral and NCA – a total investment of around 90 million euros.

Costantino recalls encountering difficulties in bringing his ideas, vision and business logic to the yachting industry. “Coming from different sectors, I often clashed with pre-defined and pre-existing rules. Nonetheless, I persevered, and everything I envisioned has propelled the group I lead to global prominence.”

The group has since gone from success to success and has a full order book: “Currently, we have several exciting projects underway. Our flagship is a 100-metre motoryacht, scheduled for delivery in September 2026. Additionally, we’re nearing the launch of a 78-metre yacht, set to be delivered in July this year, followed closely by a 67-metre motoryacht in August, which will be showcased at the Monaco Yacht Show 2024.”
The shipyard has several more upcoming launches: a 72-metre vessel in July, a 55-metre yacht in September with delivery by year-end, a 78-metre yacht in May also set for delivery by year-end. Additionally, two former Perini orders – a 50-metre and a 55-metre – are scheduled for launch and delivery next year. Finally, the completion of the 60-metre ketch is expected between October and November.

56-metre ketch, Perini Navi Genesis fleet

“Currently, our projects are quite diverse, with approximately 40 under way, including 28 new builds and several refits. While refits currently represent less than 10 per cent of our turnover, we foresee significant growth in this area. Consequently, we’re considering establishing a refit hub in the Mediterranean, recognising its importance both commercially and technically. As we continue to expand, it’s crucial for us to remain open to different production and design philosophies. We value the importance of observing and learning from others in the industry, recognising that every perspective contributes to our growth.”

The Italian Sea Group (TISG) acquired the Perini shipyard in 2022, expanding its presence in the sailing yacht arena, particularly in larger sizes. With its recent acquisition, The Italian Sea Group has articulated its intentions on how it plans to drive expansion in the future.

“We’ve restarted all existing contacts, negotiations and business exchanges,” says Costantino. “We’ve also redesigned an extraordinary fleet, focusing on large sizes in aluminium and steel. This decision stems from our readiness and expertise in handling vessels ranging from 35 to 40 metres. This year, we showcased a catamaran at the Monaco show. Next year, we plan to unveil the 60-metre ketch alongside another 56-metre ketch.

“While it’s true that the commercial sailing world appears sluggish compared to its past glories, it’s adapting to modern demands. Shuttles have gained prominence, and technological advancements have facilitated silent travel even on motoryachts. Admittedly, sailboats require more maintenance than motoryachts. They’re also more expensive in terms of size ratio, costing 30 per cent more with 25 per cent less space. Additionally, the crew must be highly qualified.”

Headquarters, The Italian Sea Group

With regard to the US market, Costantino says there are definitive signs of slowdown, particularly in anticipation of the November 2024 elections.
“I understand that the slowdown is affecting small to medium-sized companies, but our focus lies in the large segment, where we have several negotiations in progress, so the trend remains unchanged for us. While the market may be impacted by inflationary pressures, our clients, shipowners, understand that they will be investing significant amounts, typically around 100 to 120 million euros. In such cases, inflation becomes less of a concern. In my 15 years at the helm of TISG, I’ve never encountered a client who sought leasing or financing.”

We also discuss emerging trends, and Costantino explains that for yachts ranging from 45 to 60 metres, the yard’s fleet serves as the reference point, whereas for larger sizes, clients often bring their own custom designs. Today’s nautical landscape is brimming with new ideas and innovations, and Costantino emphasises that Italian shipyards are synonymous with ground-breaking innovations destined to revolutionise the yachting experience.
“In recent years, we’ve witnessed several design revolutions in the yachting industry. Innovations like glass flaps, opening flaps at the stern connecting to side hatches and asymmetrical superstructures have emerged. For instance, the introduction of glazing that spans from the floor to the ceiling has prompted classification bodies to undertake significant certification efforts.

43.5-metre This is It, built by Tecnomar
Image courtesy of IYC

“Today, there are numerous intriguing innovations. However, the essence of new trends lies in fostering direct connections with the sea and nature. When envisioning a vessel embodying these characteristics, Geco immediately comes to mind. It’s the first 55-metre boat featuring a completely open and expansive stern, along with side entrances – a perfect space for hosting parties, lunches and dinners.”

When it comes to alternative power sources, Costantino highlights that since delivering Quinta Essentia, the world's largest hybrid yacht, the company has made significant strides in enhancing its powering capabilities.
“Currently, half of our ongoing projects involve the production of hybrid yachts, next-generation diesel-electrics and solar panels. Additionally, we’ve invested in significant research on hydrogen, collaborating with RINA. However, I must be honest; we don’t foresee a viable future for hydrogen-powered yachting in the medium term. Safety concerns, along with operational costs – such as the need for constant motorisation and crew training –present significant challenges.”
The Italian Sea Group is among the three Italian shipyards listed on the stock exchange. Despite this, Giovanni Costantino believes there’s still a considerable distance to cover before reaching the same market valuation multipliers as the larger listed brands.
“While we’re recognised in the stock market world and among stakeholders, it’s not enough. We still have much to prove and we’re committed to doing so. I’m confident that we’ll earn the recognition we deserve.”

Profile links

Perini Navi


The Italian Sea Group

Admiral Yachts

NCA Refit

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In conversation with Giovanni Costantino


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