20 October 2022
In his address to media and guests, CEO of Heesen Yachts, Arthur Brouwer cited the Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse which shows that by the end of 2021, global wealth totalled an estimated US$463.6 trillion – an increase of 9.8 percent compared to 2020, far above the average annual 6.6 percent increase recorded since the beginning of the century.
At the top of the wealth pyramid, the United States continues to rank highest by far, with over 140,000 ultra-high-net-worth individuals (those who have wealth above 50 million dollars), followed by China with 32,710 individuals.
Worldwide, Credit Suisse estimates that there were 62.5 million millionaires at the end of 2021, 5.2 million more than the year before.
This data is backed up by the SYBAss Economic Report which shows the billionaire population has risen by 8 percent annually on average over the past two decades.
“For the superyacht market, there is a post-COVID boom with record-breaking orders for superyachts longer than 40 metres: 134 in 2021 alone,” he added.
“As we all know, however, it’s not all plain sailing. 2022 is proving to be a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has caused Europe’s worst security crisis in decades. The entire world is now facing a long and difficult period of conflict with Russia.”
As Brouwer surmised, the economic damage from the war in Ukraine will contribute to a slowdown in global growth in 2022 and a rise in inflation.
In the World Economic Outlook update from July, the IMF states that global growth is projected to slow from an estimated 6.1 per cent in 2021 to 3.6 percent in 2022 and 2023. This is 0.8 and 0.2 percentage points lower for 2022 and 2023 than was projected in January.
Referring to the impact of the pandemic, Brouwer stated, “After the economic slowdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, we experienced a post-COVID spike in global demand.
“This, together with supply chain disruptions from lockdowns in China, led to increases in commodity prices and input cost. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its repercussions just added to the problem. It also triggered a worldwide cost of living crisis and, of course, created a humanitarian disaster.”
He continued, “Global economic uncertainty is hard for us all, but while it would be easy to give in to pessimism, we are not on the edge of the cliff yet.
“The post-COVID push into yachting is still creating more demand than supply in our industry.
“Thanks to the full order books, I expect that most of the shipyards, and certainly our fellow members of the Superyacht Builders Association, will be able to leap over this period with relative ease and absorb the decline in demand.
“That’s not to say that everything has been easy, though. At Heesen, we had to deal with the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine more than other players in our sector. But overcoming obstacles is part of our DNA. As most of you know, Heesen built its reputation on finding solutions to design and technical challenges to deliver some of the most extraordinary and iconic yachts in history.
“They say that rough seas make stronger sailors. Thanks to our solid and reliable Dutch organisation, we have weathered the challenges and seamlessly transitioned to a 100 per cent Dutch company. Today, our shipyard is cruising full steam ahead into the second part of a stormy year.”
Brouwer made a commitment to colleagues and clients that the company would always abide by international laws and “any and all international sanctions”.
“In terms of any yachts for Russian clients that might be in build, that also means we can continue with the builds, but for the time being, we cannot – and will not – deliver them.”
Heesen is in strong shape, according to Brouwer, who quoted stats such as a workforce of 1,000 skilled and passionate people, a full order book with deliveries through 2025, and a healthy financial situation.
“So we are able to manage the present hurdles, and we are also ready to handle whatever the future may hold. Our shipyard in Oss and our luxury interior facility in Winterswijk are as busy as a beehive!
“With 12 yachts under construction, we have the perfect mix of full-custom and fast delivery. We occupy a unique position in the market; we are one of the few northern European shipyards with a strong speculative program that shortens the delivery time and allows competitive prices for top-quality superyachts with a proven track record.”
This year, Heesen has delivered three yachts; Book Ends and Ocean Z from the brand’s successful 50-metre semi-displacement and 50-metre full-displacement series, and they were joined by Lusine, a 60-metre award-winning full-custom motor yacht of 1,079 GT with exterior lines by Omega and the most complex interior ever designed by Sinot. Luisine was on display at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show.
“These three yachts show the exceptional ability of our shipyard,” said Brouwer. We cater to clients who want to save time without compromising on quality, and who desire a unique yacht that is the true expression of their personality and lifestyle.
“We also offer our clients Smart Custom yachts. These are projects that combine the best of both worlds.
“Recent times have pushed us to up our game. Contingency planning will be crucial to guarantee success in future years. We keep strengthening our workforce by hiring new talent and constantly investing in our staff through training.
“The people in Heesen are our most important asset – it’s the human capital that makes the difference and allows our shipyard to deliver yachts that are nothing but the best.
“We are in almost the third year of global logistical issues and shortages of multiple components. To deliver our yachts on time and within budget, we depend heavily on the reliability of our supply chain. Our boats are made from millions of parts. To ensure everything is available on time, we have nurtured a supportive relationship with our suppliers and partners.
“They have become an integral part of our extended family and contribute to our success. None of this would have been possible without them, and we are grateful for their commitment and loyalty.”
Crucial to the future success of the company, Brouwer said, was a commitment to investing in research and development, new technology and design.