The Swiss group that acquired Camper & Nicholsons International two years ago has withdrawn its stake in the company and Fincantieri, already a minority shareholder, has increased its stake to 50%. David Robinson reports.

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PROJECT KILKEA

Fincantieri’s Vard1-08 Kilkea project is being marketed by Edmiston and currently in build at one of the Vard yards in Norway

Camper & Nicholsons International (CNI) has announced that it is now jointly-owned by Fincantieri SpA and Lai Sun Development Co Ltd of Hong Kong. The news follows on from a revised ownership structure revealed yesterday.

The Swiss group that acquired CNI two years ago has withdrawn its stake in the company and Fincantieri, already a minority shareholder, has increased its stake to 50%. Details of the deal have not been disclosed. Lai Sun Development became the shareholder of 50% of the company last year.

“Alongside Fincantieri’s investment, 50% shareholder Lai Sun Development has moved aggressively to invest in C&N operations and provide support for expansion into the Asia market, with further announcements regarding the company’s new Hong Kong base of operations anticipated in the coming weeks,” CNI says in a statement.

In addition to its expansion in Asia, C&N has secured a marina-front office in Port Pierre Canto in Cannes, which will open in spring 2017 as its flagship European office. This follows a recent move to improve the company’s headquarters by relocating to the Gildo Pastor Center in Monaco.

“We have made a lot of progress over the past six months to a year in developing our long-term strategic plan. We want to solidly implement the Camper & Nicholsons name as the world’s leading yachting brands,” Kurt Fraser, CNI marketing director, comments.

Fraser continues: “We want to return the brand to its roots, both as company that initiated the modern brokerage, charter and yacht management methods and also as an innovator in the market. Our focus having taken a very hard look is on development our brokerage and owners’ needs.”

New management

Fraser has also confirmed that all heads of departments are staying and “are very motivated by the change and are look forward to future growth and opportunities”.

As part of the structural changes, C&N has announced that CEO Michael Payne is leaving the company. ”As part of his 22-year tenure, Payne played an instrumental role in preparing C&N for its current phase of growth with its new shareholders,” reads the statement.

Commenting on the CN brand, now owned by CNI, Fraser says: “We are keen to consolidate the brand and I know discussions have already been held with the management of CN Marinas.” The latter is now majority-owned by the Hong Kong-headquartered First Eastern financial group.

Paolo Casani, managing director of CNI, comments: “We are very fortunate to have Fincantieri and Lai Sun as equal shareholders, providing the robust financial backing and active involvement needed to take C&N to even greater heights of success in the years to come.”

This deal also marks a significant strengthening of Fincantieri’s involvement in yacht refit work arranged through CNI. The Italian shipyard is set to expand its new build, refit and conversion activity.

Fincantieri has built two superyachts to date, namely the 140m (459ft) Ocean Victory and the 134m (439ft) Serene. In addition, its Vard Shipyards division has two potential yacht projects based on converting two offshore service vessels (OSVs).

The first of these is the 82m (269ft) Vard1-08 Kilkea project, which is being marketed by Edmiston and currently in build at one of the Vard yards in Norway.

Brage is the second project in the pipeline and it is marketed through Fraser Yachts. This is based on a 2012-built OSV currently operating in the North Sea but available for conversion into a superyacht with an 18-month reconstruction period. This could be done at one of the Vard yards.