YARD UPDATE '07: Aicon Yachts...

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YARD UPDATE '07: Aicon Yachts...

Yard Updates

A turnover of around €500 million within three years; Aicons to 35m; plus semi-displacement navettas; and Morgan-branded trawler yachts...


Aicon is certainly one Italian boatbuilder worth watching. The Messina, Sicily-based player’s growth record since in started in ‘99 has been quite remarkable, but its ambition for the years ahead is something else again.
Its turnover for its ‘05/06 year was €59 million. And for ‘06/07 it jumped 56 per cent to €92 million. Then the target for its current ‘07/08 year is €120 million, which if reached will mean a further 30 per cent or so.
“Our aim, our challenge is to build Aicon into one of the biggest international players,” says president Lino Siclari, who owns 65 per cent of the company’s share capital. The remaining 35 per cent is on the open market, as Aicon has been publicly quoted on the Milan stock exchange since April ‘07. “And our immediate goal is to ramp things up to around the €500 million mark within the next three years!” That’s quite a statement.

'It has an EBITDA of just over 30 per cent at the moment...' 

The operation certainly has money to invest in its future. It has an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization) of just over 30 per cent at the moment. “That is really good figure,” says Lino Siclari. “Very few other luxury businesses do so well… Only a few companies like Hermes manage to get EBITDAs that high.”

As to where it’s all coming from, the Aicon range now includes the Aicon 56 Fly, which was introduced in ’01 and whose success has spurred the whole operation on, the two-year-old 62 Open, 64 Fly, which was shown for the first time at the Cannes ’04, the 72 Open, which was shown for the first time in summer ’05, the new-last-year 75 Fly, new 82 Open, the first of which should splash around May/June ’08, and the two-year-old 85 Fly. But over the next five years we can expect to see this operation deliver at least nine new models to market.
Since it began around 260 ‘Aicons’ have been delivered. The brand is priced at around the same level as Azimut.
Presently the brand development plans for Aicon run all the way to 33.5m (110ft) or so. Although the next new Aicon will be the 82 Open, there is a 92 Open and a 110 Open on the drawingboard.
But Aicon’s ambition also now extends beyond the Aicon brand.
Work is already well progressed on a new 33.5m (110ft) semi-displacement navetta-style motoryacht model. This striking model will be the first of what at the moment is intended to be a three-model range of similar style vessels from 27.4-39.6m (90-130ft) – so there will be a ‘Navetta 90’, ‘Navetta 110’ and ‘Navetta 130’. A new brand name will be introduced for those, but at the moment Aicon isn’t saying what. With a price tag of around €9 million, the first 110 should go in the water around August/September time, hopefully in time to debut at either Cannes or Monaco ‘08. The first is already sold and the plan is eventually for four to deliver each year.

'The goal, at least initially, is to have a range of four Morgan models from around 15-24m (50-80ft)...'

The operation recently acquired the Morgan Yachts brand along with a few designs for retro-style motor launches, something similar to the US-built Hinckleys. The Morgan brand won’t be applied to the navettas, however. The intention for that brand is to repackage it with a series of new designs in the trawler-yacht sector, models along similar lines to the Grand Banks in terms of positioning, but with more Italian flare. Indeed work has already well in hand on the first models. The goal, at least initially, is to have a range of four Morgan models from around 15-24m (50-80ft). Due to unveil sometime during summer ’08, the first will probably be a Morgan 55. And that is likely to be followed by a Morgan 70.
Employing at two plants on Sicily around 500 or so people directly, plus a host of regular subcontractors that probably more than double that figure, Aicon delivered just 40 boats, but during its ‘05/06 year, but that tally was pushed up to 86 boats for ‘06/07. Moreover the target for this current ‘07/08 financial year is 120.
Exports account for 50 per cent of sales. In all it has 27 dealers spread across some 30 countries. Greece is the best market outside of Italy at the moment. Spain is very good and also France, particularly for the Open models. Then comes the UAE. Its Dubai dealer is said to have recently signed a €75 million deal. Boats are also now staring to go to Mexico, the USA, China, and even South Africa regularly.
The company’s issue price was 4.10 per share. Although the price dropped to €3.20 last summer during a share crisis, it has since rebounded. Towards the end of last year the operation had a backlog worth in excess of €150 million.

For more, www.aiconyachts.com.

© Phil Draper