We opened our new series of leading Yacht Industry Voices with Sylvie Ernoult
Today I welcome Francesco Carbone and I am please to discuss some important issues with him.
Celebrating half a century of activity with equally significant accomplishments, Palumbo Group has grown to become a major player in the shipbuilding industry. The growths and reputation in the luxury yacht world is based on both new build and refit-repair. The new build division which has been operating under Columbus Yachts since year 2008 recently welcomed ISA YACHTS as part of the group. Palumbo Superyachts comprises a logistics network of five shipyards in the Mediterranean (Ancona, Malta, Marseille, Naples and Savona) operating just as many world-renowned brands: ISA Yachts, Columbus Yachts, Mondomarine, Extra Yachts and Palumbo SY Refit.
The shipyards are strategically located throughout the Mediterranean in easily accessible ports.
5 Questions to Francesco Carbone (FC)
(CS) While Corona has increased the demand for yachts as a floating hideaway, the Ukraine war, inflation, high volatility in the financial markets and especially energy shortages and costs are creating new negative conditions. How do you assess the impact of this mix on the yachting industry in general and on your company in particular? How will you adapt your business model and strategy?
(FC) So far the market demand is still robust though many had predicted a steep slow down.
Coming out of 2021 that was one of the best years ever in the yachting industry, the number of negotiations and sales will probably decline in the coming months but most of the builders are fully booked for the next 2-3 years so we don’t expect big hits.
Certainly builders will have to adapt to the new world order reducing direct costs, improving supply chain relationships and inventory management, streamline logistics.
(CS) Especially for very large yachts, the Russians are falling away as a buyer target group, as one hears. Allegedly, the 20-50 m segment is little affected. How will the target buyer groups for individual yacht segments change?
(FC) We have zero exposure to Russian buyers so we didn’t really feel the crack. While Western Europe and North America remain the major sales territories, we are seeing how new younger Clientele from Asia and Australia is opening up to the yachting experience in the 35-50m range and starts buying yachts at a pretty fast pace.
(CS) Yachts are pure pleasure and enjoyment; nobody really needs them. Rather, they represent a lavish and energy-consuming asset for the very few. How do you think the demand for and social integration of yachts will change and what future scenarios does this mean for the yacht industry?
(FC) We are confident yachts will continue to represent the highest level of luxury experience and people who can afford it will continue to buy or charter boats. As of today, the new yacht owners are becoming younger, more curious and with a stronger desire to explore and live unique experiences. Nowadays some people are making money at a younger stage in life and, therefore, have more time to enjoy their money and assets.
(CS) Many talk about “green” yacht concepts. Can a large yacht ever be “green” and how to justify itself? Which technologies will the future belong to?
(FC) The idea of “greening” yachts has been gaining in popularity across the yachting industry in recent years. Shipyards are focusing on increasing the sustainable technologies on board. The trend of “sustainability” is currently a very present theme, as numerous owners are looking into both alternative propulsion and green construction solutions with the aim to reduce fuel emissions, improve fuel consumption and decrease the negative effects towards our planet.
(CS) During Corona, many yacht manufacturers and dealers embraced new channels of communication and distribution, from 3-D internet presentations to in-house shows. Now the yacht shows are coming back. How do you think the yacht sales environment will change. What is your presentation and sales vision for the future?
(FC) The COVID-19 crisis has radically changed the way people live and work. Yachting industry is no exception. People had no choice but to develop new skills and experiences during the pandemic and the result is that more people than ever have the skills and knowledge to work effectively from anywhere. However, personal interactions and direct inspections in marinas/boat shows will keep playing a crucial role in the decision-making process of a yacht buyer now and in the years to come.
Many thanks Mr Carbone.