Written by Ocean Magazine
Photography by C&N
Camper & Nicholsons International has announced changes to the company’s ownership structure through a shuffle of investors. It is now fully co-owned by Italian yacht and ship builder Fincantieri SpA and Chinese development company Lai Sun Development Company Ltd.
The announcement marks the full withdrawal of ownership from 1782 Group, previously Colloseum Services SA, an investment vehicle of a Swiss-based family office that acquired Camper & Nicholsons in 2014.
The recently appointed Managing Director of Camper & Nicholsons, Paolo Casani, commented on the news: “We are very fortunate to have Fincantieri and Lai Sun as equal shareholders, providing the robust financial backing and active involvement needed to take C&N to even greater heights of success in the years to come.”
In 2015, Fincantieri – which is predominantly state-owned through financial management company Fintecna SpA – invested in a minority stake in Camper & Nicholsons, providing the company with a capital injection. The recent news marks a significant increase in the company’s interest in the yacht brokerage firm, more than doubling it.
Last autumn, the Hong Kong conglomerate Lai Sun Development Company – which has investments across property and hospitality sectors, among others – invested in a 50 percent share of Camper & Nicholsons.
At the time, the company indicated that this would also spur the expansion of Camper & Nicholsons in Asia through a “major platform”, and the same message continues to grow momentum within the latest statement.
In the announcement, Camper & Nicholsons said that “Lai Sun Development Company has moved aggressively to invest in C&N operations and provide support for expansion into the Asia market, with further announcements regarding the company’s new Hong Kong base of operations anticipated in the coming weeks.”
Aside from efforts to branch out further into Asia, there have been a number of changes closer to home for Camper & Nicholsons. It will be moving its flagship European office to a marina-front location in Port Pierre Canto in Cannes this spring, and CEO Michael Payne, who has been with the company for 22 years, has departed with immediate effect.
It’s not the first time that Italian maritime construction behemoth Fincantieri has found itself working alongside Chinese partners. Last year, Fincantieri signed a joint venture agreement with China State Shipbuilding Corp for the construction of the first cruise ships to be built in China intended to be used in South East Asia, with special adaptations to suit the local market, with the first deliveries reportedly expected in 2022.
Additional announcements from Camper & Nicholsons on future development plans within Asia are expected imminently. With YACHTZOO having just announced its expansion into Asia with a Tokyo office, and many of the other major European-based yacht brokerage companies focusing on new markets in Asia, it seems apparent that the eyes of European yacht brokerage are turning east.