Foreign money finds super-yacht makers
THE HAGUE _ The economic slump that began in 2008 has led to an overall contraction of the Dutch maritime sector by 2%. Some industries escape the crisis with double digit growth figures such as marine engineering, offshore, ports and builders of Dutch super-yachts. The latter _ once a sector of family-owned companies _ has become a magnet of serious foreign capital.
“Super-yacht builders are surviving the economic crisis quite nicely,” says the 2012 Maritime Monitor, an annual health check of the Netherlands’ maritime sector. “The number of companies active in the construction of large yachts remains stable. As do their order books. The Netherlands is now, after Italy, the largest builder of super-yachts, even ahead of the United States.”
Dutch makers of super-yachts _ vessels of 45 meters and longer _ used to be largely family-owned businesses. Over the years _ and in tandem with healthy growth in the global luxury sectors _ super-yacht makers have attracted foreign investors with deep pockets. Heessen Yachts is ny now largely Russian-owned. Feadship _ a venture of the Royal van Lent and Royal De Vries yards and De Voogt Naval Architects _ is 30% foreign-owned. The French LVMH Group, maker of consumer luxury goods, owns Royal van Lent.
2012 was a banner year for Dutch makers of big, posh yachts. They delivered 22 super-yachts, had 23 under construction and recorded 18 orders, the yachting daily DeVaarkrant reported recently. 2013 promises to be a banner year for super-yacht spotters. It will see the launch of the largest motor yacht to date. The Motor Yacht Project Azzam, being finished at Lurssen Yachts in Bremen, Germany, is believed to be a 180m long. Two eye-catching Dutch projects in 2013: the 99m Motor Yacht Dream, coming off the Feadship yard at Makkum, and Motor Yacht Y709 that will be 91.5m long and will come off the yard of Oceanco in Alblasserdam.