WALL STREET ITALIA – INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER AND CEO GIOVANNI COSTANTINO

FIVE STAR YACHT

The acquisition of Perini Navi, the collaborations with the world of luxury and the debut in Piazza Affari: the Founder and CEO of The Italian Sea Group speaks.

Giovanni Costantino, Founder and Ceo of the Italian Sea Group, speaks to the Wall Street Italia about his personal vision on yachting, on the collaboration with luxury brands, on listing and future projects of his Group that today sails with tailwind.

What does it mean to be the first Italian yachting industry?
“According to the Global Order Book 2022, we are the first Italian shipyard in the building of yachts over 50 metres.
It is a big satisfaction. We have reached the position n. 8 in the world ranking, a classification made by listing the yacht builders according to the sum of the overall length of the yachts under construction.
Currently we have 27 vessels under construction in the segment of the yachts over 50 meters, for a total length of 757 meters. The result has been achieved through a decade of commitment, sacrifices and outcomes. 
In a rapidly growing and expanding market, we will continue to strengthen our position among the main world players, not only as result of the significant reputation of our Company but also thanks to the high quality profile of our yachts, both recognized worldwide”.
 
You operate on the market with 4 iconic brands. 2 are complementary: Admiral, classic style superyachts of length over 50 meters and Tecnomar, known for its cutting-edge design yachts of length up to 45 meters. In December 2021 you have acquired for 80 million of euro Perini Navi, which includes as well Picchiotti, historical name of the Italian yacht building tradition. What does this acquisition mean for the Group?
“The acquisition of Perini Navi represents an achievement of outstanding strategic importance for TISG. I strongly wanted this action because it fits our growth strategy
and our skills in the sailing industry, already recognized by the market.
There are skills and grounds for enhancing the Perini Navi and Picchiotti brands in a proper way. Thanks to this integration, TIGS will be able to leverage on a strong in-house know how developed in the business of sailing yachts. The group has a well established experience in the enhancement of acquired assets and brands, as demonstrated by the strong growth recorded after the revamping of Admiral and Tecnomar brands.
The valorisation of Perini will be also encouraged by the fact that the past debacle of the Company did not affect the brand value, the reputation of which has remained intact, as well shown by the recent sales of the Perini yachts in the brokerage market.
The full integration of the two teams will support to creation and consolidation of the in-house culture and skills in the design, construction and refitting of sailing yachts”.
 
 
For The Italian Sea Group a milestone in 2021 was the listing in the Milano Euronext Index of Borsa Italiana, that took place on the 8th of June. Why did you decide to go public?
“The listing allowed us to get more visibility and further increase the trust of the international market.
Our customer are all foreigners and the listing is synonymous of a transparent, certified and structured company, a fact that provides higher security to clients and a competitive advantage to use. The access to the capital market gave us a tool to support the growth.
The quotation, with about 45 million of euro raised through the IPO, has already demonstrated of being an essential step to boost the development of TISG, and helped the company in attracting a significant part of the 80 million of euro needed for the acquisition of Perini Navi”.

Among your important projects there is the partnership with Lamborghini for the realization of the Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63, the new Motor Yacht of the Tecnomar fleet. How was born this collaboration?
“It was born almost by chance. I am passionate of cars and in a trip while driving my Lamborghini I had the idea to transfer the thrill of driving also on water. Thanks to a friend, I arranged a meeting with the then President of Lamborghini, I presented him a wow- project and in very little time I was able to convince him. It is a complex project, very successful, a product unique in the world. The Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 will be built in limited edition, only 63 units.  It is a formula that takes its clue from the SIAN model, produced as well in only 63 units. It will be a futuristic icon like the car to which it is inspired; 63 owners all over the world will own not only the fastest yacht in the fleet, but also a unique Tecnomar for Lamborghini”.

Among your partners in the luxury world there is Giorgio Armani, toady he is also a shareholder of the Group. What are you developing together?
“The agreement with Giorgio Armani, as a first step, involves the construction of 4 motor yachts with a length up to 72 meters.
This collaboration represents the meeting between the excellence of yachting world and that of fashion, a unique project that combines the values of Armani and the technical and design excellence of The Italian Sea Group.
This collaboration too was born almost by chance. First, we worked on the contractual aspects dealing with Armani’s management, then I was told that the agreement could have be signed, only if the spark was struck with Mr. Armani. I went to the meeting with great emotion and a little shyness. We chatted for half an hour, at one point he got up and returned with his great book, a volume that tells his story, book that at those times was unpublished. He sketched a little boat on one of the pages and told me: Giovanni this is the first yacht I have designed for you. It was an incredible emotion. I am very proud of this alliance. Armani is synonymous of elegance and timeless research and his stylistic vision will contribute to improve also our aesthetic sensibility”.

Which are your main markets and how do you want to enhance your presence abroad?
“Ours is a global market. We officially entered the American market for large yachts, consolidating TISG’s position as a global player in the mega yacht segment, with the sale of the 82-meter Admiral Galileo.
The yachting business is once again very dynamic. The mega yacht segment has proven to be more resilient than other segments, also because the loyal clientele is international and consists of only Ultra High Worth Individuals less exposed to recessive economic scenarios”.
 
Your R&D Department is made up of about 25 architects and 20 engineers constantly committed in the development of new technological solutions. Which are your most futuristic projects and what are you working on today?
“This department, as well as being our strength, is my soul and my joy: it is the place where I take refuge when I need to re-energize myself from the business management. We are working hard on various levels. Domus 118 Tecnomar is a project strongly characterized by elements typical of large-volume boats and by impressive structural and aesthetic details. We are building the Art Explorer, one of the largest sailing catamarans in the world and the Admiral Geco, a mega yacht of 82 meters which is a real work of art”.
 
Your shipyard boasts a dry-dock without comparison in the Mediterranean. How did you develop it?
“We have had a fast growth and we required room to meet our production needs. Following the purchasing of the historical yard Nuovi Cantieri Apuania in 2012, we invested 35 million euro to upgrade its facilities in order to optimise the production capacity. As a first step, we created Business Units dedicated to the most strategic activities such as the steelwork, the upholstery and the metallic carpentry in order the keep in house the know-how of the most significant production steps.  With the increase of the demand, we faced the necessity to further enlarge our production capacity. We therefore proceeded with two investment plans, TISG 4.0 for 40 million and TISG 4.1 for 15 million. One the main steps was the realisation of the dry dock, inaugurated on November 2021. Our dry dock has been the first to be realised in Italy in the latest 50 years! The last one being the original dry dock of the Nuovi Cantieri Apuania”.

Talking about sustainability, what does it mean for you and how do you actually apply it?
“We have started an ecological transition process that involves every aspect of our company. Starting from our products, where the hybrid propulsion is already included in the 50% of the yachts in our order book, plus we are actively developing hydrogen propulsion. In the yard we have developed and implemented good practices for the waste sorting and recycling. And we are investing in renewable energy sources with the aim to cover our needs. Within the month of June 2023, we will complete the installation of photovoltaic panels on all our shed roofs, for a total of 60.000 square meter. The output will cover the 50% of our power requirements.
We invest lot of energies in the training of our employee and in the inclusion practice. 20% of our workforce is female and the 100 women working with us do not see any wage differentiation with their male colleagues.
Our idea of sustainability involves as well our district and territories where we are active in charities and urban landscaping projects. Let’s say that we have a 360° sustainable vision”.

Written by MARGHERITA CALABI

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