Genoa - The momentum is on the side of the Chinese. And they could on course for the Mondomarine shipyard in Savona, which has been in dire financial straits for months. According to information ascertained by Secolo XIX/The MediTelegraph, some Asian entrepreneurs connected to the Shandong Ocean Investment group may have decided to formalize a purchase offer for the Savona shipyard that specializes in the construction of mega yachts of over 25 metres in length. The value of the transaction could exceed €30 million but would not only concern the Savona facility. The Chinese entrepreneurs seem set on a deal that would include the Cantieri di Pisa shipyard, a Tuscany-based yacht builder company which Mondomarine acquired about two years ago. And there is more; Xu Xinyu, vice-president of China’s Weichai Power company, is also getting involved in the negotiations, acting as an intermediary between the Beijing-based entrepreneurs and the Savona-based shipyard firm. The Ligurian yacht builder company is currently controlled by majority shareholder Alessandro Falciai, joined by stakeholder Roberto Zambrini as managing director. The historic Mondomarine superyacht brand, has been struggling for some time due to the financial crisis, which has brought the company virtually to a standstill.
Due to such dire circumstances management signed a cost-saving agreement, known in Italy as cassa integrazione, last April with its unions, triggering the stay-at-home pay system for about 100 Mondamarine workers, while several industry subcontractors who have outstanding invoices with the firm remain unpaid. The goal of the Shandong Ocean Investment group would be to invest in the Italian leisure boating sector and enter the sector through a recognized brand such as Mondomarine. The Savona shipyard, furthermore, is a facility that can be used both for construction as well as refurbishment of superyachts, just like the other Tuscany-based shipyard owned by the same company, and which could form part of the offer the Chinese entrepreneurs seem set to formalize. However, the designs of the potential Chinese investors could go beyond the sole acquisition of Mondomarine. According to sources close to the matter, the Chinese would, in fact, be interested in creating a hub for leisure yachts in the province of Savona, which would include not only a shipyard for large pleasure crafts, but also a tourist marina. Among the facilities in the area that have already been considered by the Beijing-based group is Marina di Loano, a facility capable of accommodating up to 900 boats up to 77 metres in length.