Ferretti Group CEO confirms positive future outlook

Ferretti Group CEO Alberto Galassi has recently spoken exclusively to CPP-LUXURY.COM about his company’s performance in 2015 and key future initiatives.

How has your company performed in 2015 and what are your expectations for the rest of 2015?

As for 2015, we are really proud of the positive key figures achieved this year, which are fully in line with the ambitious targets announced at the presentation of our development and growth strategic plan for the three years 2015-2017, focusing on the further development of the Group’s core brands – all largely thanks to Product Research & Development investments totaling € 50 million, which are supporting the launch of as many as 27 new models. More specifically, Ferretti Group’s consolidated orders intake as at 31th August 2015 totals € 253 million, showing a 105% increase over the first eight months of the year 2014. As to the percentage breakdown of the total consolidated orders intake by geographical area as at 31th August 2015, Europe – Middle East – Africa accounts for 59%, Americas for 22% and Asia Pacific for 19%. Ferretti Group’s cash flow and EBIT figures as at 31th August 2015 also show positive performances as against the first eight months of the year 2014, further validating the effectiveness of the strategy implemented by the Group during the last year.

As for rest of the year, we remain fully confident: during all the recent boat show, the motor-yachts of our brands, and in particular our premieres, found a strong interest by ship owners and by national and international press, confirming our commitments, continuous brand investments and strong focus on product development and validating the effectiveness of our strategy for growth through continuous product range innovation.

Which have been the landmark product launches of your company in 2015?

This year, we have presented 6 world premieres..  One is the Ferretti Yachts 550, another brilliant outcome of the long-standing cooperation between the Group, its Engineering Department in particular, and Studio Zuccon International Project, which features an unprecedented hull design, equipment and engine room arrangement and interior layout. This yacht combines elegance and a very sporty character, with clear-cut and yet very seducing lines. The lowered flybridge and the new forward lounge area on the wheelhouse offer incredibly wide outdoor relaxation areas, ensuring great privacy with no impact on the craft’s slender profile.

The second brand new Ferretti Yachts model is the 700, evolution of one of the greatest recent successes for Ferretti Group’s historical brand. It features a slender, aggressive profile – one of the sportiest ever in the brand’s history.

The Ferretti Yachts 700’s aerodynamic design is most apparent in the elongated tail, surmounted by a roll bar housing satellite systems and antennas and characterized by a new color shade, called ‘Vulcan Grey’. Starting from the Ferretti Yachts 700, this warm grey shade will become the brand’s second color, and will be used on all accessory systems (roll bars, hard tops…), in contrast with the white shade of the hull and the superstructure.

This year we revealed as well three new models from Riva, definitely the most famous nautical brand worldwide. The first one is Riva 76’ Perseo, outcome of the long-standing cooperation between the Group’s Engineering Department and the designer Mauro Micheli and Officina Italiana Design. The new coupé of the brand has been conceived with a view to preserving the family feeling with the other models in the brand’s sporty range, and deservedly joins the other true masterpieces in Riva’s recent production. This yacht immediately strikes for its sporty features and elegance, further enhanced by its color shades. The yacht’s sporty look is further highlighted by the over 40 square meters of glazed surfaces. The spacious sun deck perfectly harmonizes with the yacht’s aerodynamic lines and ensures the utmost privacy and relaxation, besides allowing to pilot the craft from a privileged position.

The 88’ Florida, an open yacht and a coupé as well, is the second new Riva: 88’ Florida has two souls, entwined in one single, spectacular yacht. Indeed, Riva’s typically rigorous lines and the 88’ Florida’s own unparalleled elegance are made even more enticing by the yacht’s innovative ‘Convertible Top’ technology, derived from the automotive sector, creating the first convertible luxury motor yacht. The new ‘Moon Grey’ shade, a light metallic grey that enhances the yacht’s slender lines, characterizes the slender lines of the first 88’ Florida, and is in pleasant contrast with the ‘Bright Black’ shade details. The hull profile is really unmistakable thanks to the innovative-design continuous glazing featuring a stainless steel plate that bears the Riva logo in its central part. The large windshield and the steel roll bar complete this new yacht’s design.

The 88’ Domino Super is the third new jewel of Riva for the 2015. It immediately strikes the eye for its slender, streamlined profile, which is further highlighted by the color of the hull, a dark grey that has been named ‘London Grey’. The same innovative color shade can also be found in some deck details and harmoniously contrasts the light grey (‘Moon Grey’) of the superstructure. Other important design solutions bear witness to the great value of this evolution: the new sundeck highlights the yacht’s sporty character, while offering guests additional comfort; the outdoor pilot station has been moved to the central part of the boat and has a very limited size, thereby making room for a large sofa at the bow; and the large uninterrupted hull glazing, featuring a very aggressive design, extends across the yacht, almost like an arrow, from the central part of the boat to the extreme bow. The stainless steel plate bearing the Riva logo, just in the middle of the glazing, is the ‘seal’ on this masterpiece and the restyled aft area adds the final touch to the yacht’s dynamic personality. The 88’ Riva Domino Super’s outstanding technical equipment and solutions perfectly harmonize with its sporty look and offer additional comfort to all guests, making technical operations extremely easy.

In keeping with the turbulent evolution of the global markets, has your product development been altered in any way?

I think that it is too early to say if the fluctuation of the market will have a long-term impact on nautical sector. Also considering that our clients belong to the HNWI segment that is usually less influenced by short-term fluctuations of the market.

The main consequence is perhaps that the worldwide nautical market now is hungry for new products and requires continuous updating of the range. In this way, our commitment is to continue with determination, in the name of innovation, to imagine, design, and build the most beautiful boats in the world. We are investing capital, resources, and energies in the launch of new models of our brands, different in terms of style and positioning but sharing the same vocation for excellence.

Which are the markets which have the highest potential for growth for your products?

In the first eight months of 2015, geographically, our Group has continued its sales growth on an international level. In particular, in Europe – Middle East – Africa, the Group’s orders intake as at 31st August 2015 shows a remarkable 187% increase as against the first eight months of 2014, providing further evidence of our effective and widespread presence on its ‘historic’ markets. In Asia Pacific too, in the first eight months of the year the Group has seen a considerable increase equal to 96% in the consolidated orders intake as against 31st August 2014, reaffirming the strategic importance of this area in our future development prospects. Finally, in the Americas the orders intake as at 31st August 2015 shows a 20% increase as against 31st August 2014, confirming our growth on all markets.

As for potential for growth in medium-long term, China yachting market remains still considerable, also if it has still to be considered being in a developing stage. Indeed, even if China lacks of a widespread nautical culture at present, in this country the nautical industry is growing at moderate but constant rates. It was back in 2004 when the Group pioneered its launch into the Chinese market, with a sales representative office in Shanghai. Today we keep on seeing a significant growth potential in that area.

As a matter of fact, to strengthen commercial expansion and further grow our selected distribution network in this area, the Group has established in 2013 a new subsidiary, Ferretti Group Asia Pacific Ltd., based in Hong Kong, followed several representative offices and sales centres in Shanghai, Qingdao and other locations in China. For what the Asian dealer network concerns, we may count on more than 10 official dealers in the main Asian countries. The most recent ones are Starship Yachts, a pioneer company in the Asian yachting sector, covering the markets of Hong Kong and Macau and giving the company exclusive dealership rights for Ferretti Yachts and Pershing branded boats, and Ray White Marine, that since August has become our exclusive partner for Australia and New Zealand, for the Ferretti Yachts, Pershing and Riva brands.

With the development of digital, has this in any way reshaped your marketing strategy?

The digital era has definitely reshaped the Group’s communication strategy. Indeed, we use a widespread range of tools that enable us to constantly keep in touch with our stakeholders. Among these, the corporate websites play a crucial role: Ferretti Group has both its own official website as well as a dedicated one for each of its 7 brands. Websites give an extensive description of our history, our business, products, news and events. Ferretti Group also serves the web community through its social network accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin and through our official YouTube channel. More in detail, we have developed iPad apps dedicated to our brands and to our house organ magazine Protagonist, also available both for iOs and Android. Dedicated to our dealers, Ferretti Group created a special tool which allows them to display on iPad a digital product catalogue with photos, videos and virtual tours on board of our yachts, a supporting instrument which eases the selling process.

How does your business relate to lifestyle? Which are the most lucrative partnerships with luxury brands from other sectors?

Luxury boats are among the most expensive objects for personal satisfaction that money can buy: they are a concentrate of technology, performance, design, sex appeal. All sorts of individual pleasures and sensations that can eventually be provided one at a time by a single class of goods or by a single leisure activity can be provided altogether and simultaneously by a boat: aesthetic satisfaction, socializing, travelling, speed emotion, adventure, show off, tactile sensations, uniqueness…

At Ferretti Group we know that we compete against all the forms of self-indulgence and proof of achievement: vintage or race cars, exclusive real estate, exotic vacations, artworks, aggressive financial investments… We must provide to our customers stronger emotions, sharper recognition, unconditional trust, thrilling sensations over and above what these other “toys and games” can provide.

Designing, building, maintaining luxury boats on a global scale – as we do at the Ferretti Group – is not a business for the faint hearted: you need deep pockets, sharp vision, restless energy, leading edge technologies, advanced design, global coverage, exceptional people and above all a great passion for what you are doing.

Today, I proudly and honestly believe that there is no boat as luxurious and superbly finished as a Riva, as sleek and performing as a Pershing, as comfortable and fulfilling as Itama, as classy and distinctive as a Mochi Craft, as homey and dependable as a Ferretti Yachts, as exclusive as a CRN, as elegant as a Custom Line.

This unique portfolio of prestigious and exclusive brands has been linked many times in these years with many other sector luxury brands. One we’re particularly tied with is Parmigiani Fleurier, the famous Swiss haute horology brand, partner of our Pershing brand since 2008.

The first outcome of this partnership was the limited edition of the ‘One-One-Five’ chronograph, drawing inspiration from the Pershing 115, the flagship of the fleet.

The cooperation then continued with a series of unnumbered underwater chronographs, and then, in 2011, with the collection of ‘Transform Pershing 108’ chronographs, dedicated to the first three-engine model of the brand (Pershing 108). 2012 was the year of the Parmigiani Pershing CFB collection, inspired by the Brazilian Football Confederation.

Across your brands what is the consumer profile range you cover?

Over the years, our Group has built a brand value which is easily recognized on the international market, through careful, coherent placement of our yacht and brands portfolio. Indeed, the Ferretti Group portfolio comprises a range of internationally prestigious brands, distinguished by their tradition, exclusiveness which in the luxury nautical world symbolize renowned ‘Made-in-Italy’ quality. Being part of a Group enables each of the brands to avail themselves of a unique, close-knit team of designers, naval engineers, architects and technicians who have developed some of the most innovative, first-class yachts on the global nautical market. Ferretti Group can benefit from the diversification strategy of an extensive brand portfolio and a global production presence.

More specifically, Ferretti Yachts’ target market is that of owners with a solid nautical culture, who are loyal to the unmistakable style of the brand and desire quality and performance with a ”classical contemporary” style which maintains its features and value over the years.

As for Pershing, its yachts are highly considered by clients interested in top performance in terms of speed and in technological, innovative content.

Itama yachts are suited to clients who prefer a classical Mediterranean open yacht, able to combine excellent seaworthiness with special attention to design, devised for daily use.

Riva yachts are suited to clients seeking highly exclusive products both for their performance and image. Compared to competitors Rivas stand out for their difference in style. Indeed, each yacht is identified by a strong personality, whilst still maintaining the distinctive features of the Riva brand. The Riva yachts are considered a legend in the worldwide boating sector, synonymous with the exclusiveness and luxury which are hallmarks of Italian style.

Regarding Mochi Craft yachts, they are especially popular with clients looking for a boat with a distinctive style, as well as elegance and an innovative technological performance.

CRN yachts are highly regarded by clients looking for an exclusive, “made to measure” project, characteristics which are typical of a large custom-built yacht. Quality and unique features are distinctive features of CRN, a highly complex product in which engineering, technology, design, artisan craftwork, manufacture, luxury and Italian-made style merge together. CRN’s production cycle, which usually lasts on average 12 to 16 months for yachts in composite materials and up to 46 months for the steel and aluminium versions, guarantees clients maximum participation in terms of design and the choice of the materials (also allowing them to involve their own architects), and aims to satisfy all their requirements in terms of design, aesthetics and lines.

Traditionally, Custom Line owners already have a strong marine culture and experience and favor the quality and typical style of the brand, which combines the opportunity to customize all those elements and components which are not strictly structural.

What are your key initiatives for 2016 in terms of product launches as well as other business innovations (marketing, retail etc)

Over the three year period spanning 2015-2017, the Group is focusing on the continued development of the core brands in its portfolio – particularly Riva, Ferretti Yachts, Pershing and Custom Line – involving investments in product development and research worth over €50 million, that will fund the launch of 27 new models. The new Riva Superyachts Division is part of this new direction, endorsing the decision by the historic and iconic brand to enter the 50-metre-plus super yacht segment with two different lines destined to grow in parallel on different naval platforms, from 50 to 60 and 70 m, up to 90 meters long. The first line will be characterized by classic, timeless forms inspired by the legendary history of the brand. The second, sportier and more aggressive, will evoke the latest generation of Riva coupé, which led to the creation of masterpieces like the recent 76’ Perseo and 88’ Domino Super.

The evolution of this fleet is under the care of an ad hoc engineering and design team that is already at work alongside the Riva Sales&Marketing team and designer Mauro Micheli and Officina Italiana Design, the firm that for over twenty years has placed its unmistakable signature on all the yachts built by Riva.

As for 2016, we foresee the launch of 12 yachts, between new models and evolution of actual vessels.

Among them, the new Pershing 140 flagship will mark the entry of the 30-year-old brand into the segment of light alloy superyachts.

The vessel represents another revolutionary moment for a brand that has made cutting-edge technology and innovation its mission.

Last but not least, the Custom Line Navetta 37, the new semi-displacement flagship by Custom Line, which will debut in summer 2016, when the brand will celebrate its first 20 years in business.

Alberto Galassi CEO Ferretti Group