Major financial maneuvers at the Leopard Yard. Background and history

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Major financial maneuvers at Cantiere del Pardo, known for the Grand Soleil brands for sailing and Pardo Yachts for powerboats. Private equity fund Wise Equity SGR will acquire 60 percent of the brand’s shares.

There had been talk for several months about changing the majority shareholder of the Forlì shipyard, but now we are really at the end of the negotiation.

Luigi Servidati (left) and Fabio Planamente

FLATLY AND SERVED REMAIN

Fabio Planamente and Luigi “Gigi” Servidati, the company’s two longtime managers and passionate sailors, had become the majority shareholders in 2018 with a management buyout and a 5 million euro capital increase.

They will now remain in the shipyard’s shareholder base with 40 percent of the shares while retaining their positions (Servidati will serve as chairman of the board, Planamente as CEO), but in fact Wise Equity has secured control of the group and its brands.

The shipyard’s major maneuvers, top management assures, are to strengthen capital and bring order to the rampant development of the shipyard, which has grown from less than 4 million to 50 million euros in sales in recent years.

The legendary Grand Soleil 34 is a true legend: designed by Finot in the 1970s, it remained in production until the 1980s with over 300 hulls built

THE HISTORY OF THE PARDO SHIPYARD

Cantiere del Pardo is one of the most famous brands, in Italy and internationally, in the 30- to 60-foot cruising boat segment, and alliances with funds recur in its history.

Giuseppe Giuliani Ricci (now in Solaris) founded it in 1973 leading it to success with legendary models: first Finot’s GS34 with that gigantic stern (there was even a porthole!) for then, large volumes never seen before. Then Alain Jezequel’s models (famous 343 and 39) and Frers’ models that competed with the Swans (to the point that Grand Soleils were known as “Spaghetti Swans”).

Cantiere del Pardo also made an initial foray into powerboats under the Hudson&Ricci brand, Giuliani then also acquired a majority stake in the French shipyard Dufour, creating the world’s second largest nautical group: finally selling everything in 2008 to the U.S. fund Rhone Capital. Rhone had purchased a 70 percent stake from Giuliani, managers, and other investors, all of whom remained in the capital with smaller stakes. The international fund had then sold the shipyard to the Germans of Bavaria.

The company had experienced a crisis until, in 2014 Servidati and Planamente had landed as managers of the shipyard, having worked there for several years, the former since 2000 and the latter since 2009, holding various positions.

Partners then included the Trevisani family (who left the scene in 2018) and Andrea Amadori.

Grand Soleil 42 LC
The Grand Soleil 42 LC (Long Cruise)

In 2015 the company’s only brand was Grand Soleil: Planamente and Servidati made their mark by making “breakthrough” choices, such as the birth of the new motor boat brand Pardo Yachts and, as far as sailing boats are concerned, of the range Long Cruise in 2015 and 2018 of the new Custom Line.

The results are in: today, of Cantiere del Pardo’s 50 million turnover, 80 percent is generated by powerboats and 20 percent by sailboats. The ebitda (that is, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) generated is 7 million.

Recently, Cantiere del Pardo acquired the U.S. powerboat brand Van Dutch-a deal that could increase sales by 20 to 30 million euros and activate important synergies for the U.S. market.

Ghego Saggini

VISIT THE ENTIRE GRAND SOLEIL RANGE NOW AT MILAN YACHTING WEEK


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