LUXURY – Giovanni Costantino: Italian luxury travels by sea

From large sailing ships to superyachts up to 140 meters. Not to mention the refitting of superyachts and of both motor and sailing yachts . This is the world of The Italian Sea Group, a global luxury yachting operator listed on Euronext Milan stock exchange, and which is also the italian leading producer of superyachts over 50m. The Group, headed by entrepreneur Giovanni Costantino, has a history marked by acquisitions of important Italian nautical brands.

What were the acquisitions? How was the company born?

The acquisition of Tecnomar dates back to 2009, and this is a brand known for the sportiness, avant-garde design and high performance of its yachts; in 2011 the brand Admiral was bought, a brand known for producing superyachts longer than 50 meters with a classic style that can be fully customized; and in 2012 occurred the acquisition of Nuovi Cantieri Apuania  in Marina di Carrara. In 2020, The Italian Sea Group was officially founded, and in 2021 Perini Navi, a world leader in the design and construction of large sailing ships, joined th Group along with Picchiotti, a historic shipyard that for more than four centuries has marked the history of military, commercial, recreational and sports yachting. Shipbuilding is complemented by yacht and megayacht refit services, with a focus on yachts over 60m, through the brand NCA Refit, which has increasingly established itself as a landmark for a highly sophisticated international clientele.

As far as the headquarter is concerned, how many employees are there?

Located in the heart of Italy’s famous yachting district, The Italian Sea Group’s shipyard in Marina di Carrara, built on an area of about 120,000 square meters of which more than 53,000 are dedicated to refitting activities, boasts facilities unique in the world, such as two dry docks, one of which, inaugurated at the end of 2021 with a lenght of 147m, is equipped with an innovative “door boat.” The production spaces make it the largest yachting facility in the Mediterranean Sea and have, over the years, enabled it to support the dimensional increase of orders. But there are not only the technical aspects. The shipyard has also created an area, “The Village,” solely for the well-being and entertainment of owners, captains and crews, an area which includes an elegant lounge bar, restaurant, gym and spa. Then there are the other two production sites: one in Viareggio, and the other in La Spezia, both of which will be operational from February 2022. There are currently 530 employees with an induced workforce of 1,000.

How is the yachting industry doing in Italy?

The yachting industry is experiencing a good moment globally, despite the complex geopolitical context. The sector has become very dynamic again. Sooner or later a cooling of the market can be expected, but at least throughout 2022 the situation will continue to be positive. The large-yacht segment, which continues to grow, has proven to be more resilient than other sectors, partly because loyal clientele is international and consists only of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals who are less exposed to recessionary economic scenarios.

What are your markets? What do your customers ask for?

We sell our yachts to owners of all nationalities. We have launched a commercial expansion plan to broaden our business in the Middle East and the United States, where in the summer we also opened our first flagship store in East Hampton, Long Island, and we are having extremely positive feedbacks. Our owners want adventure and freedom, they require yachts capable of sailing in any condition and location. They desire to reduce the distance between the interior and the exterior to ensure a continuous relationship with the sea. Above all they want uniqueness, perfection and a guarantee that every requirement will be realized without compromise. We collaborate with owners during all stages of realization of the yachts. The innovations on our yachts often start from their requests, which we try to implement into unique products. In general, the trend of the market indicates, globally, an increasing demand for yachts with unconventional shapes, so much so that Explorers are increasingly capturing the market both for their performance and for layout. We develop concepts in line with our  quality and performancestandards. Stylistic innovation undoubtedly belongs to us: each of our yachts is unique and we are constantly striving to find new creative solutions.

What is your turnover?

In the first half of 2022, we have achieved total revenues for 133.6 million euros, with an increase of 65.1 percent vompared to 80.9 recorded in the same period of 2021. The increase in revenues is mainly the result of the growth of the order book, which was 922 million as of June 30, the progress of yachts currently under construction, as well as the significant boost of the NCA Refit division. We are very proud of the results achieved, which confirm the validity of the strategy, the solidity of the development project and our ability to implement it.

How did the pandemic and the war affect your work?

Our activities never stopped. During the pandemic we have managed, with great commitment, to complete, according to the deadlines, the projects we had planned, and the geopolitical conflict, fortunately, did not penalized us. The Russian market for us represents less than 10 percent of sales, thus we have little exposure. At the moment there is currently only one order in place that is destined to a customer not affected by international sanctions, for a 75-meter yacht. I would add that we have no suppliers in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. And that all orders and refit activities are progressing without any slowdowns. In situations like this, diversifying into global markets offers an excellent parachute.”

Do you have your own Academy?

Yes, we inaugurated our Academy in 2021, in collaboration with the University of Genoa and the Promostudi Foundation, dedicated to the creation excellence paths for the company’s employees and for undergraduate students of the degree programs in Nautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering with a Mechatronic address and the Master’s degree program in Yacht Design. A multipurpose facility of about 300 square meters, with more than 150 seats, was built to host the Academy inside the shipyard. It is an initiative that has developed from the realization that it is the responsibility of companies to bridge the last mile that undergraduates have to travel to finalize their course of study and invest in the training of employees. The Academy aims to foster the interchange between the university and the world of work, enabling students and young talents to put their knowledge in yacht design and construction by participating in the creation of unique projects, a true  expression of made in Italy.”