Thursday, February 4th, 2021
Picking up the Pieces of Bankrupt Perini Navi
Who will be picking up the pieces of the recently bankrupted Perini Navi shipyards?
The future of the Perini Navi brand is a matter of speculation now that the company has been declared bankrupt.
Matters had looked so bright for the Italian sailing superyacht builder when in 2017, the Tabacchi family’s holding company Fenix S.r.l, became the majority shareholder but that future was not to match the golden years when Fabio Perini held the reins.
When things began to go pear shaped in 2019 a shining white knight appeared to sail into the rescue in the form of SanLorenzo another Italian giant in the superyacht building market. Having looked at the books and done their homework however, SanLorenzo weighed anchor and set sail on another course.
Then came news that the London-based investment fund Blue Skye Investment Group, was about to climb on board picking up the pieces injecting new capital with the aim of restructuring the ailing sailing yacht builder.
Then in late January came the news that the Italian court had pulled plug on iconic yacht builder.
As the thunder clouds begin to roll in so in early February came the brightening news that the Italian superyacht building community think the brand is worth saving. SanLorenzo has started to look afresh at the situation as have Feretti, The Italian Sea Group and Palumbo Shipyards.
Which of them will be picking up the pieces?
Unless the brand can be rescued it looks like its curtains for the builder whose yacht found favour with the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Tom Perkins, Silvio Berlusconi, Eddie Jordan and Larry Ellison.
Driven by his desire to automate the sail handling systems in large sailing yachts, Fabio Perini founded the firm in Viareggio during 1983.
Perini himself was born in 1940 at Capannori, near Lucca in the north of Tuscany. His entrepreneurial success showed itself early when at the age of just 20, patented machinery for automatic cutting of tissue paper. Six years later he headed a mechanical engineering business specialised in design and manufacturing of industrial machinery for the paper making industry and the tissue converting industry. He sold that business to the German multinational group Körber PaperLink in 1994 and threw himself wholeheartedly in to the design of advanced sailing yachts.
Perini kept a back seat when it came to driving the company forward preferring to be the genius behind the concept while leaving the commercial glory to others. He backed the creation of the Yildiz shipyard in Turkey and it was at that facility that the yards hulls and basic superstructures were constructed. They were then towed to Viareggio for fitting out.
In Fabio backed the purchase of the Picchiotti shipyards located in in La Spezia. That historic Picchiotti shipyard had been originally founded in 1600.
Perini Navi was sold in 2017 with the Tabacchi family, whose wealth followed the sale of their optician chain, Salmoiraghi & Viganò, acquiring 49.9% of the company. It was reported at the time that they paid €27 million for their share. Fabio Perini retained a 50,1% stake in the company and was transitioned to the role of honorary chairman. Subsequently it was reported that the family increased their stake in the company from 49.99% to 74%, with an overall investment of 40 million euros.
Perini Navi’s fortunes began to waiver at around the time that the newly restructured company appointed Lamberto Tacoli as its new CEO. Tacoli had worked for the Ferretti Group since the early 2000s and had been appointed President and CEO of CRN in 2012 a post he held until 2016.
In May 2020 the Perini Navi Board decided to undertake a procedure through the Court in Lucca aimed at restructuring the company’s financial indebtedness through a debt restructuring agreement pursuant to Article 182. of the “Italian Insolvency Law”, in order to preserve the Company’s operational and business continuity. Their actions came at a time when the yacht builder had, according to Milano Finanza, an Italian national weekly business newspaper, negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of €25 million and a debt between banks and suppliers of €55 million.
For more than 30 years, Perini Navi has been recognised globally for its innovation and design of superyachts. Beginning in the 1980s, with the first large sailing yachts with their automated sail control systems, through to the 1990s when the company introduced large flybridges offering extreme comfort, not unlike motor yachts of that era.
Subsequently, the launch of the 88 metre Maltese Falcon, with her three masts and strange looking rig gave the yacht builder world recognition
The Perini Navi and Picchiotti brands have also been responsible for yachts the likes of Sybaris, Exuma, Galileo G, and Grace E.That the brands should disappear is almost unthinkable. We just have to wait to see who will be picking up the pieces and make a success of the remnants