Rival Shipyards Join Forces To Save Perini Navi

Two boatbuilding conglomerates have banded together to out-bid two others for the cherished brand.

By Michael Verdon 17/02/2021

Two rival Italian motoryacht builders have created a joint venture to acquire Perini Navi, one of the Superyacht world’s most iconic sailing brands. The Ferretti Group and Sanlorenzo sent out a joint statement saying they’d like to acquire Perini Navi from bankruptcy. The builder of many of the world’s most famous sailing superyachts, including Maltese FalconPerseus III and Badis, was declared bankrupt on January 29, with more than $156 million (100 million euros) of debt.

Ferretti and Sanlorenzo are also joining Italy’s Palumbo Group and the Italian Sea Group as suitors for Perini Navi. In a statement, the Italian Sea Group said it “believes that maintaining in Italy a historic brand such as Perini Navi—the leading player of luxury sailing worldwide—represents a strategic interest also for Italy.”

The joint venture statement did not specify how the arrangement would work if Ferretti and Sanlorenzo succeeded in buying Perini Navi at bankruptcy auction. In January 2019, the Ferretti Group acquired Wally Yachts, another builder of custom sailing yachts and motoryachts, though the type of sailing vessel is much different than Perini Navi’s.

Four Suitors Line Up to Buy Perini Navi out of Bankruptcy

The 70-metre Badis (ex Sybaris) is one of the company’s most famous launches. Courtesy Perini Navi

“This is an important day for the Italian yachting industry, for the employees of Perini Navi and for their families, ensuring their unique skills will continue to be protected,” said Alberto Galassi, CEO of the Ferretti Group, in announcing the joint venture. “At Ferretti Group, we are always on the lookout for excellence and capabilities to integrate with our own. And often we find them in Italy, as is the case today. We are confident our commitment will translate into further growth that benefits the local area and raises the profile of the Italian yacht industry still further.”

Sanlorenzo executive chairman Massimo Perotti added that he always “had great admiration” for Perini Navi’s business model, which included building bespoke sailing yachts for “expert owners and connoisseurs.” Sanlorenzo expressed an interest last year in acquiring Perini Navi. But the deal fell through in late stages of negotiations and Perini went into receivership.

Beyond its trademarks and brand identity, Perini Navi has shipyards in both Viareggio and La Spezia, Italy and outside Istanbul, Turkey. It had a custom motoryacht line called Picchiotti Yachts, but that brand was shuttered two years ago as part of an internal restructuring that failed to bring Perini back to financial health.

Beyond shipyards, whichever builder acquires Perini Navi will gain a foothold in superyacht sustainability, since sailing yachts are much more eco-friendly than motoryachts. Courtesy Perini Navi

Palumbo Superyachts, which has in recent years acquired the brands ISA Yachts, Columbus Yachts, Mondomarine, and Extra Yachts, also expressed interest in the Perini brand earlier this month.

The Italian bankruptcy court in Lucca has not announced a date for the Perini auction, but one source close to a suitor says a deal will probably take several months to finalise.

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