Marina Barcelona 92 (“MB92”), a specialist superyacht refit, repair and maintenance group, have announced that Squircle Capital, a European alternative investment firm focused on private equity and value-add real estate investments, has acquired 77.5 per cent of MB92. The transaction, which has received regulatory approval, is expected to close, subject to customary closing conditions, within the coming weeks.
Over a period of 25 years, MB92 has affirmed itself as a leader in the superyacht refit industry, by skilfully expanding its operations and client base. In 2017, the company acquired a majority stake in Compositeworks and Blohm+Voss La Ciotat, and subsequently merged these businesses to create MB92 La Ciotat in 2018.
“We have just finished projects such as the shiplift in Barcelona, which is an important investment for us, and we are also committed to the investment on the shiplift in La Ciotat, which is another €45-50 million,” said Pepe García-Aubert, president and CEO of MB92 Group, in an interview with SuperyachtNews at Monaco Yacht Show.
The acquisition by Squircle Capital will aid MB92 in affirming their position as one of the key players in the refit and repair industry, with long term investment supporting this. Private equity is not seen as a 3-5 year plan in the eyes of MB92 and the acquisition by Squircle Capital. “This is a different private equity system, they are long-term players. They are not looking for short-term, they are looking for long-term projects of up to 10/15/20 years,” continued García-Aubert.
In addition to the long-term investment, MB92 was drawn in by Squircle Capital further to its ownership of the Barcelona-based hub, OneOcean Port Vell, as well as its approach to investment, which entails long-term strategic growth over a period of 10-20 years, as opposed to the 3-5 year strategies ordinarily associated with private equity investment. Further to the complimentary services provided by MB92 and OneOcean Port Vell, MB92 are continuously developing ways in which the two companies can mutually benefit from these synergies.
“[Squircle Capital's] decision to invest in MB92 and the superyacht refit sector in particular is testament to the rising professionalism of our industry... We have evolved and reached a level of professional maturity that will enable us to move confidently into a new growth phase” - Pepe García-Aubert, President and CEO - MB92 Group
“We are very pleased to welcome Squircle capital as the new majority shareholder of MB92,” said García-Aubert. “They have an exciting long-term vision of how to further grow the group and consolidate our position as market leader and I have no doubt that we will benefit from their strategic expertise and broad experience.
“Their decision to invest in MB92 and the superyacht refit sector in particular is testament to the rising professionalism of our industry. When I think back to our humble beginnings 25 years ago, I feel extremely proud. We have evolved and reached a level of professional maturity that will enable us to move confidently into a new growth phase with Squircle Capital at our side,” he concluded.
"In just a few years, MB92 has managed to carve out a unique position, not only as a leader within the sector but also as an exemplary provider of refit, repair and maintenance services for superyachts" - José Caireta, Founding Partner - Squircle Capital
José Caireta, founding partner at Squircle Capital, added: “In just a few years, MB92 has managed to carve out a unique position, not only as a leader within the sector but also as an exemplary provider of refit, repair and maintenance services for superyachts. As private equity managers, it is refreshing to find a leading industry player with local roots, a global reach and significant room for further growth.
“With this acquisition, we further prove our ability to identify attractive investment opportunities in the growing superyacht industry whilst adding to an existing portfolio of solid mid-market companies and unique real estate assets across several European countries,” ended Caireta.
John Nery, head of investments at Squircle Capital, added: “We are delighted with this latest addition to the family of portfolio companies at Squircle Capital. We see a tremendous value creation opportunity with this acquisition and will seek to support Pepe and his team in their growth plans as they continue to be at the forefront of technological advancement and service excellence within the superyacht refit sector. Our focus now will be to continue growing the business organically whilst seeking new opportunities to further capitalise on the positive market dynamics we all believe in.”
The transaction entails the acquisition of MB92 Barcelona, the parent company of the group, which also counts on a 75 per cent stake in MB92 La Ciotat, the company resulting from the merger of the businesses acquired in the French port in 2017.
At present, according to García-Aubert, MB92 do not have a specific geographic region which they will be honing in on, but it will be their focus in the coming months to develop this and to ensure the next steps they take follow the direction of the superyacht industry.
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