Phuket-based Ruea Yachts is looking to significantly expand its newbuild and refit activity including the possibility of buying its own shipyard near Bangkok. Ruea is the newbuild and refit division of Yacht Solutions, the 10 year old superyacht support services company, which is currently managing the refit of a 60m (196ft) yacht belonging to a Hong Kong Chinese businessman which is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Earlier this year Ruea launched a 60m (196ft) newbuild design for which negotiations with a few possible buyers are underway. The design was produced by the UK design houses Design Unlimited and BMT Nigel Gee. Ruea is understood by SB to be close to an order for a larger yacht. Gareth Twist, joint owner of Yacht Solutions/Ruea told SB that “The client is very interested, the negotiations are ongoing and for the 60m we are talking with a few people, including one Eurasian. For refit work we have a 33m booked for December and a 44m in April. Negotiations on a number of other projects are also underway.”

Ruea has been working closely with two yards in Bangkok and to provide dedicated capacity, Ruea has now signed a joint venture with the Mits Decisions shipyard where the 60m refit is underway. The whole approach by Ruea for its newbuild and refit projects is to combine European expertise with local shipyard capacity, skill and price levels that are considerably below Europe and US costs. Through the Mits Decisions labour force and facilities have been upgraded, and with a mix of European consultants helping out, a high quality of workmanship is guaranteed and the yard will now only work on pleasure craft.

Close by is an available yard which has been hit by the downturn and is available for sale. Twist told SB that he is currently negotiating with the bank and he would like to acquire the yard to complement the capacity available at Mits Decisions. The yard has two large slipways one of which Twist foresees using for refit, the other for newbuild. The latter slipway would be able to accommodate up to three 75m (246ft) yachts at once. If Twist is successful in acquiring the yard then he plans to build a 85m (278ft) construction hall for an estimated $500,000 investment. There is no timing on this development until the purchase negotiations are concluded.

Twist firmly believes that Asia’s involvement with the superyacht business will develop substantially over the coming years. “More and more Asian owners are buying boats and there is a move in several countries to develop sailing. China is moving forward; marinas are beginning to be built in Vietnam and India holds huge potential,” he told SB. “We might develop a 47m-50m yachts specifically designed for Asian owners. We have also set up the Asia-Pacific Superyacht Association and we have about 40 companies interested in becoming members.”