July 31, 2008

Monthly News - July 2008

- pic of the month - Azimut Benetti Group Gala 2008

Aicon Dealers Meeting

The second edition of the Aicon Dealer Meeting was concluded on 6 July at Portorosa Marina in Sicily. The meeting with the partners of Aicon Yachts took place on two weekends (June 20-22 and July 4-6 2008) and saw the participation of dealers from all over the world accompanied by some boat owners as well. The dealer meeting was an occasion to give a preview of the new models, to discuss technical aspects and strengths, and to illustrate the new projects and the sales policy. The Dealer Meeting involved dealers from all over the world, from China to the Arab Emirates, from South Africa to United States and from Greece to England. Two weekends characterized by an intense program of appointments, presentations, round table discussions and events. The Dealer Meeting was organized with the objective both to strengthen the flow of communication between Aicon and its partners, and to analyze the opinions which emerged in order to improve service which the boat owners require. All the partners involved were given an absolute preview of the new models which will be launched in 2008- 2009. They were also given the opportunity to test the boats during the whole day dedicated to sea trials of the entire range. The series of appointments which followed in succession from morning to evening were concluded with a poolside dinner gala at the prestigious beach of the Hilton Hotel in Portorosa, also attended by Aicon Yachts President, Lino Siclari. The Dealer Meeting was also the first occasion to present a new project aimed at involving the dealers in company strategy, Dealer Management. The Dealer Management is an organization which meets regularly, made up of a representative of national and international dealers and company managers. The committee has the objective of building and sharing projects of a varied nature, which can range from the planning of new boats to sales, marketing and communications issues. Thanks to the founding of this body a real working network has been built which involves the dealers even more in the activities of the Group both on a planning and operational level.

Azimut, Benetti Brings Sea, Business and Lifestyle Together at Yachting Gala

A 25,000 square meter Azimut Yachts shipyard characterized by high-tech and innovation, a basin of more than 20,000 m2, 40 tailor-made berths for large yachts of up to 60 meters from the exclusive range of Azimut-Benetti. And more: a 15,000 m2 Service Center which offers specialized refitting assistance, motor and hull repairs, crew training in the classroom, reservations for trips, flights and hotel stays. In sum, this is how the Marina of Viareggio of Azimut Benetti Group, the Italian company World leader in the luxury yacht sector, looked at the Yachting Gala 2008, which was held yesterday, Saturday June 28th. One year exactly from the first event held in Varazze, Azimut-Benetti selected the magnificent Marina di Viareggio for its most prestigious annual appointment with clients, dealers and the world of glamour, luxury and lifestyle. These worlds combine the allure and prestige of dream yachts with elegance, art and design. The more than 2000 guests who came from 54 countries and 5 continents were able to visit a fleet of 35 ships, 25 of which were available to be tried throughout the day along the coast surrounding the Marina. These yachts were made available by the Group’s three brands, respectively: Azimut Yachts, Benetti and Atlantis. This authentic “Private Boat show” has become an institution for everyone in the international yachting trade. It was the ideal setting to introduce to the world the new Azimut 70 and the Atlantis 50x4, two jewels of the sea that enrich the Group’s crown. Additionally, the simultaneous inauguration of Azimut Yachts’ new Showroom should also be highlighted. The showroom is the only one of its kind in Europe. It is a prestigious and sophisticated environment where yacht-owners will be able to choose the interior design of their yacht with the help of some highly qualified architects. The showroom will be enable yacht-owners to view the most exclusive and innovative designs aimed at customizing their life on board. This is a preview of the Luxury Showroom which will open in the near future as the feather in the cap of the group’s brand new Strategic Services Division, whose remit will range from financial activities to the managing of ports, marinas and yachts, on top of offering chartering options and global training for commanders and crews aimed at satisfying every single yacht-owners need. Paolo Casani, a manager boasting a 25-year experience in fashion and luxury goods at the highest level, having been a top manager at Armani, Valentino, Gruppo Finanziario Tessile, Calvin Klein and Ferragamo, has just been appointed head of the group’s Strategic Services Division. This appointment emphasizes the group’s position as premium style leader of its market sector. The gala evening ended with the soul music of Mario Biondi, one of the main musical revelations of the year. Kitonb, the dancing acrobats who mix circus art, theater and dance were entrusted with the spectacular unveiling of the two new models. Marcello Lippi, former coach of the 2006 World Soccer Championships winning Italian team was the Guest of Honor, a true man of Viareggio and a great admirer of the Group’s yachts.

Couach Yachts Launch Third 3700 Fly

With her continuing success the Couach 3700 Fly has inevitably become the landmark of the Yacht Couture Couach collection. After the launching of the first model Kadimo in 2007 and her sister ship in March 2008, Couach shipyard launches Dragon its third exemplar that will be followed close behind by Parenthesis. Since the very successfully launching of the Couach 3700 Fly, seven models have already been sold in just one year.

Fairline Boat’s Director Reception at Buckingham Palace

During July, Derek Carter, CEO and Alan Bowers, Commercial Director of luxury performance motor yacht manufacturer Fairline Boats attended a Reception at Buckingham Palace given by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The Reception was for winners and recipients of The Queen's Award for Enterprise 2008 and follows Fairline Boats' receipt of an award in the International Trade category in April 2008. As per protocol, the Award will be formally conferred on Fairline at its premises in Northampton by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant, Lady Juliet Townsend, acting in her capacity as The Queen's local representative. This will be at a future date yet to be confirmed. A Queen's Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious corporate accolade that a UK business can win and honours outstanding UK companies. This is the second time in its history that the company has received a Queen's Award for Enterprise. Accomplishments considered by the judging panel when bestowing this prestigious award upon Fairline include doubling of their export sales over the last three years, increased overseas distribution and the creation of new jobs.

Ferretti Celebrates 40 Years Teatro Alla Scala Milan

In the prestigious setting of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Ferretti celebrated 40 years of challenges and love for the sea with all those who have contributed to the company's success. About 1.000 guests and personalities from across the world attended this private concert, "A Tribute to the Sea", with which Ferretti, the yard that has become a worldwide ambassador for Made in Italy excellence, paid homage to the inspiration behind its success - the deep blue waters of the sea. Through the music of the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, chairman Norberto Ferretti, along with friends and collaborators, was offered a depiction of his intimate dialogue with the sea, the "special relationship" that has allowed the yard to blend form and function in the construction of unique crafts. For one night the sea came to Milan, to receive Ferretti's special thanks.

Grand Banks Hosts 2008 Dealer Meeting

On the heels of its best sales year on record, Grand Banks Yachts last week welcomed dealers from around the world to its 2008 Annual Dealer Meeting. The two-day event, held near the Grand Banks factory headquarters in Singapore, was an opportunity to highlight important new products and accomplishments by the Company - and to recognize the outstanding achievements of its top dealers. A major highlight of the event was the introduction of the first Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU, which will make its public debut in the US during boat shows this fall. Featuring the joystick-controlled Zeus propulsion system from Cummins, the 41EU is a bold new take on the iconic Grand Banks trawler design. The meeting also included a comprehensive tour of Company's 21-acre facility along the southern tip of Malaysia, just across the Straits from Singapore. Dealers were treated to a comprehensive factory tour that included a demonstration of new resin-infusion techniques, along with a look at other significant production advancements at Grand Banks. The dealer meeting was hosted by Rob Livingston and company Chairman and CEO Bob Livingston, who announced his forthcoming retirement during the meeting. The senior Livingston has stood at the helm of Grand Banks Yachts for 34 years, leading the Company to its position today as a globally recognized and highly respected brand. He will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board following his retirement as CEO. Those accomplishments include overseeing a major global expansion of the Grand Banks Dealer Network. Attendance at the Dealer Meeting included new dealers from Australia, Russia, Turkey, and Croatia. They joined longstanding dealers for an opening night awards ceremony at the luxury resort island of Sentosa. The presentation recognized dealerships and individuals that have attained outstanding results as Authorized Grand Banks Dealers. Boatworks Yacht Sales, with offices in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island, received the 2007 Dealer of the Year Award by leading all others in total GB sales. Regional dealer awards went to Passage Maker Yachts in Seattle for Top US West Coast Dealer, Grand Banks Italia for Top European Dealer, and recently appointed R Marine for Top Dealer in Asia and Australia. The overall best individual sales award went to Paolo Murzi of GB Italia.

Princess Commission Splash-Tec Spas

British luxury boatbuilder Princess Yachts has commissioned UK whirlpool manufacturer Splash-Tec to produce a range of spa tubs for Princess superyachts.The Cornish bath firm has developed tubs with a range of features such as underwater mood lighting and teak finishes to compliment the decor of Princess's 95ft (29m) vessels.Family-run business Splash-Tec built the commissioned spa tubs by hand at its facility in Falmouth. Based in Plymouth on Devon's border with Cornwall, Princess was established in 1965 and operates from 94,000m sq of factory facilities.

Riviera Staff Celebrate

The staff at Gold Coast luxury boat builder Riviera came together today for a barbecue and a beer to celebrate the launch of the company’s new 70-foot luxury cruiser. They packed into the company’s new $3.6 million Aftermarket centre in bright sunshine to listen to CEO Wes Moxey share recent feedback from Dealers. He said that larger boats continue to attract strong interest. Mr Moxey said the company expected a strong result at the Sydney show following a successful Sanctuary Cove Show.

Sunseeker Sponsor another Successful Event

Sunseeker hosted a ‘Night for the Stars’ evening at The Chequers in Matching Green in Essex for clients and guests and raised a staggering £40,000 for Starlight Children's Foundation, the UK’s leading charity in granting wishes and providing hospital entertainment for seriously and terminally ill children. The evening included a Taittinger Champagne Reception kindly sponsored by Boodles and Lexus Woodford, a spectacular aerobatics display over the green by The Aero Stars of North Weald led by Phil Ansell with 6 stunt planes performing tricks such as loop-the-loop and high speed dives. Auction prizes included a day at The David Beckham Football Academy, an exclusive lap of the Goodwood circuit with Lewis Hamilton and a Boodles Rain Dance Ring. Entertainment was provided by Fil Straughan performing his soul music classics. Guests were also invited to make donations in aid of ‘Run to the Beat’ half marathon to be held in London on 5 October in which six members of Sunseeker London will be participating to raise further funds for Starlight

Tecnomar Bought by Private Equity Firm

Private equity firm Venice, part of the Palladio finance group, has acquired the majority of Tecnomar, a superyacht builder in Viareggio, northern Italy, according to Italian news agency AGI. Venice has bought 70 per cent of Tecnomar's capital from the Sarti family and has sanctioned an increase in capital to fund growth. The minority share in the company is held by the Zappelli brothers, who will continue to oversee yacht construction, and by Maurizio Magri, who recently took over direction of the firm. Tecnomar builds open and fly bridge motor yachts from 24m-50m (82ft-164ft). The firms turnover grew from €12m in 2004 to €40m in 2007. The company has launched over 200 yachts and employs 40 people directly.

Tiara to Lay Off 185 Workers

Tiara Yachts has announced plans to reduce its workforce by about 25 per cent after several rounds of job cuts. A company statement said that it will indefinitely lay off 95 workers from its Holland, Michigan facility during the first week of August, and place 70 workers on temporary layoff next week. The company laid off 110 workers earlier this month, and 10 more in June. According to a story on mlive.com, that will lower the workforce from 790 workers to 575. Tiara's cutbacks come after years of double-digit expansion for the high-end yacht brand. The company announced a US$14 million expansion in the fall of 2005 that resulted in 300,000sq ft of new production space.

Viking Takes Showdown Trophy

They call it the War Offshore. In actuality, the Viking/Ocean Showdown held July 9 – 13, 2008 is a family oriented fun-filled fishing tournament and this year’s victor is Viking Yachts. The event features two days of fishing, a pool party lay day and great local food and live entertainment. This year’s event was marked with superb weather and the fishing was good, too. Pat Healey, aboard the Viking 68, with Capt. Mike Brady at the helm, had two white marlin and captured the award for most points in the white marlin category. The Viking 68 also released two blue marlin. Tom Tucci aboard the Alyson Rose took home the award for the most tuna. Eleven-year-old Meg Seaton fishing aboard the Viking Nightwind bested all the other women and won Top Junior Angler and Top Lady Angler. Way to go, Meg! Meg follows in the footsteps of 13 year-old Alexia Turner, who was last year’s Top Junior Angler and Top Lady Angler while fishing aboard the Foolish Pleasure. These ladies can fish! In all, 17 white marlin were released and 12 blue marlin were turned loose during the event which is based at the beautiful Canyon Club Marina in Cape May, New Jersey. In addition, 34 tuna hit the scales and 19 dolphin (mahi mahi) also were weighed in. It was a great tournament for all and at the Saturday night Awards Banquet, the perpetual Showdown trophy once again went home with the Viking family.

Viking Yachts Prepare for 2008 Selling Season

Viking Yachts recently concluded its annual domestic and international dealer conference late last month at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There was no sugar coating of the current business climate but presentations by company owners, Bill, Bob and Patrick Healey, as well as the sales and marketing departments were upbeat about the new product line up. During his opening remarks, Patrick Healey, Viking’s Executive Vice-President, announced the dealers could expect to see four new models at the February 2009 Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show. The models include the new Viking 82 Convertible, which already has 13 signed contracts, a new 57 Convertible, a new 46 Convertible and a new 46 Open Express. Drawings of two smaller models, a pair of 42-footers, also were shown slated for delivery in late 2009. Dealer interest buoyed with enthusiasm when it was announced the smaller models would be offered with Volvo Penta’s IPS drive system. Dealers also received presentations from Viking sister companies, Palm Beach Towers and Atlantic Marine Electronics, which do most of the OEM installations on new Vikings, and updates and upgrades on existing Vikings, as well as other production and custom boats. Choosing AME and PBT allows a customer to take delivery of his new Viking turnkey ready. Dealers also learned that AME had reached a milestone with its 400th installation in its five-year history and that all AME technicians had attained NMEA certification. Updates pertaining to Viking’s two service centers in Riviera Beach, Florida, were presented, along with informative discussions by representatives from G.E. Capital Solutions, Caterpillar, MAN and MTU. The three-day event also featured ocean sea trials aboard seven new Vikings and one-on-one meetings with dealer principals and Viking sales staff. On their visits to the Viking facility, dealers saw the results of the last phase of Viking’s recent capital revamping and expansion plans, which included a new 130,000 square feet building for the 82 Convertible and production lines one and two, the company’s waste water treatment plant and its 165 feet tall test tower for the purpose of installing a wind turbine to generate electricity for plant operations. Dealers also viewed the first 82 Convertible under construction, Viking’s resin infusion process and the company’s two five-axis milling machines busy with new boat projects.

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