December 10 2020
A new era is beginning for Cantiere Del Pardo, with the arrival of the investment fund Wise Equity, which has completed its third transaction since raising €260 million a year ago.
By acquiring a 60% stake in Cantiere Del Pardo, Wise Equity takes control of an industrial nugget, namely an Italian luxury boat builder with €58 million in revenues, positioned in the high-end sailing yacht market, with the Grand Soleil brand, and in the market for character motor dayboats, with the Pardo Yachts and VanDutch brands.
Created in 1973, the shipyard was initially focused on the sailboat market, and the launch of the Pardo Yachts brand on the motor market literally boosted its revenue to its current level.
This strategy of strong business growth, which led last June to the acquisition of the Dutch brand VanDutch - whose boat style was as flamboyant as its marketing, but whose sales were struggling and whose construction was outsourced - came at the price of a high level of debt: nearly 24 million euros.
In fact, the company has suffered from undercapitalization in recent years, as its two owners, who were its managers until 2018, bought it that year through an MBO.
The level of debt was clearly not sustainable, which led Gigi Servidati and Fabio Planamente to sell 60% of their shares, in order to achieve a three-fold movement: firstly, to make some profit, then to extinguish the company's debt and finally to have the means to match the ambitions.
In terms of management, Gigi Servidati and Fabio Planamente remain at the operational helm.
This is clearly changing and they will finally be able to deploy their strategic plan, particularly in the motorboat market.
This strategy will involve in particular the launch of 3 new VanDutch models and probably also the strengthening of the company's R&D office, one of its weak points, as the company has until now outsourced a lot in this area. The breakage of the mast of the Grand Soleil 80 Essentia at the Maxi Rolex Cup in 2019, in 25 knots of wind, following a false maneuver by the crew, demonstrated to the shipyard that an increase in size in the market for luxury yachts required considerable resources.
Free of the burden of debt and with cash on hand, Cantiere Del Pardo can now look to the future with serenity, especially since the company has posted a 25% growth in its order book.
One fact is certain: Gigi Servidati and Fabio Planamente have just vividly demonstrated that they are great industrialists.