Yachting Art Magazine

Fabio Planamente (Cantiere Del Pardo) - why we bought the VanDutch yard

The takeover of the Dutch luxury boat brand VanDutch by the Italian Cantiere Del Pardo has made a lot of noise in the world of the Nautical Industries: ActuNautique Yachting Art offers you to know everything about the motivations that led to this takeover, through an exclusive interview with Fabio Planamente, one of the two owners and co-manager of Cantiere Del Pardo with Gigi Servidati.

Fabio Planamente, co-owner and co-manager of Cantiere Del Pardo with Gigi Servidati

Fabio Planamente, co-owner and co-manager of Cantiere Del Pardo with Gigi Servidati

Fabio Planamente, Cantiere Del Pardo has a very dynamic strategy with the acquisition of VanDutch. Before explaining to us the strategy behind this takeover, could you present us your construction site?

Fabio Planamente - Cantiere Del Pardo is an Italian shipyard, based in Forli, which builds luxury sailing yachts under the Grand Soleil brand and motoryachts under the Pardo Yachts brand. We employ between 120 and 130 people at our industrial site in Forli, where we have a modern factory, designed for boat building, with almost 40,000m2 of covered space. 

What is your turnover? And its evolution?

Fabio Planamente - Our turnover as of August 2019 was 42 million euros. This year it will be 53 million.

How many boats do you build per year?

Fabio Planamente - Our annual production amounts to 140 boats, about 40 sailing boats and 100 motoryachts.  Motoryachts represent 70% of our turnover.

One of your specificities is to be a totally independent construction site...

Fabio Planamente - Yes, we are an independent shipyard, in the sense that 100% of the capital is owned by my partner, Gigi Servidati and myself. Another of our specificities is to be a profitable and low-indebted construction site, with most of the debt relating to the acquisition of our production site .

The shift towards motoryachts, initiated 3 years ago with the launch of the Pardo Yachts range, has clearly totally transformed your shipyard, which until then had been focused on building sailboats. Why acquire VanDutch today, which is also positioned on the same luxury motoryacht market as Pardo Yachts?

Fabio Planamente - Pardo Yachts is a brand that has quickly found its market, we have just sold our 100th Pardo 42! When it comes to our customers, our salesmen have never found themselves face to face with VanDutch when signing an order form! The two brands are in fact very complementary, addressing two different clienteles in the yachting world. VanDutch are 10% more expensive than Pardo for the same service. They are also characterised by a full option offer, which appeals to a different clientele from our own.

What will be the industrial benefit of this takeover?

Fabio Planamente - Very clearly, the optimization of production. VanDutch was able to create the brand, position it, develop it, without ever producing a boat. Most of them were built in the United States, at Marquis Yachts, with the largest units being built in France, at Couach. As an industrialist, our vision is that a luxury boat builder must master the manufacturing of his boats. By integrating VanDutch, we repatriate 100% of their construction in-house, i.e. around 40 units. We are optimizing our costs and saturating our industrial facilities, which have a maximum capacity of around 200 units per year. 

What about VanDutch's DNA?

Fabio Planamente - We don't touch anything!!!! VanDutch is a great success, the brand is superb and the range is promising with some great new products to come: however, we are going to give more resources to accelerate its development?

Isn't it a bit bold to make such an acquisition at this time?

Fabio Planamente - Nicolas, in spite of the economic situation, we don't see any cancellation of orders from our customers ! We closed Forli for 6 weeks, while maintaining parts and service activity during containment. One month ago, the site resumed production. We clearly show a delivery delay of 4 to 6 weeks, which our customers understand and accept, due to the circumstances. Our positioning in the luxury segment means that we are and will probably be little affected by a market downturn, which will undoubtedly affect the market for mid-range units and access to yachting .

Fabio Planamente, in this context, what is your roadmap for the next three years?

Fabio Planamente - Within 3 years, we aim to achieve a turnover of around 100 million euros, and are therefore open to new brand acquisitions ...

A few days ago, a rumour circulated on the pontoons, about your willingness to open up your capital up to 60% to investors, to further accelerate your development strategy. What about it?

Fabio Planamente - Our strength is our independence, our sound financial structure, our agility, our ability to make quick decisions, the positioning of our brands, the loyalty of our customers ... It is clear that this situation means that some investment funds may be interested in supporting our growth. We are open to that, if these investors understand that we are... an industrial player !

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