Genova - Ferretti, the second largest yacht shipbuilder in the world, has returned to profit a year ahead of schedule, and announced investments for €46.4 million, of which 25 million is for R&D, and 21.4 million for manufacturing (details to be released by September), along with a recruitment plan for 80 workers by the beginning of next year. The investments and hirings will cover all six of the group’s yards in Italy, although the firm’s areas of greater commitment are - in order - Ancona and La Spezia. According to news released by the company (a subsidiary 86.8% owned by the Weichai Group, and 13.2% by the Ferrari family) the shipyards are working at full throttle, while market demand is shifting to units of between 30 and 50 metres in length.
In addition, last year Ferretti launched a division aimed at the world’s navies: currently the offer is limited to a 20-metre patrol boat, yet it is one of the most requested vessels at this time by navies and coast guards, globally. Orders come in batches, some numerous, and it is evident the need for the group led by Alberto Galassi to have at its disposal some spare capacity, to respond to successful tenders or negotiations.
Galassi, speaking in Milan on the occasion of the 2016 budget presentation, made it clear that investments will involve real estate or expansions through the acquisition of new areas, without excluding the possibility of further takeovers of other brands, although this is not a priority (the group already owns seven). As for La Spezia, at this port there is scope for at least two of the three expansion targets: for some time there’s been talk about an expansion of the office area, but especially of a new dock and the enlargement of the paint-shop area; as for the investment in a new shipyard, that could occur not in Liguria, but in Marina di Massa, in a facility that has already been producing moulds for the group.The move to hire 80 employees - which will also benefit the shipyard in La Spezia, where unions have repeatedly emphasized a high reliance on external labour - is subject to the outcome of Ferretti’s negotiations over mixed-type contract renewal with its employees; the firm seems to want to invest a portion of funds in a corporate makeover, utilizing the state subsidies that the latest employment norms stipulate. The numbers: in 2016 the group recorded a profit of €14 million compared with the previous year. The firm’s production value is €562 million (+36%). In 2016 the shipyard overall built 148 yachts (+25%). The objective for 2017 is to consolidate the company’s primacy in its sector. It’s “too soon” to talk about a listing on the stock market, while the sale of its Riva brand is out of the question.