Vitelli (Azimut-Benetti): “Our future in low-emission maxi yachts”

It has been a very good year for our group. The desire to be in nature, to be able to travel on water in a sustainable way, has sustained and developed the demand a lot. For our group it closed with a record result: a production value of one billion euros and a growth of 20%. But above all, we have an order book of 2.8 billion euros. a confirmation that allows you to think with serenity about the development of increasingly ambitious projects with new investments and new goals.

Your group at the top of the world hit for yacht sales. For the 22nd year he leads the Global Order Book, the annual ranking of the largest yacht manufacturers drawn up by the prestigious Boat International magazine. The group was the first of the 186 active construction sites in the world, with a number of projects worth 12.5% ​​of the total. What do you expect for the future?
We think of a growth prospect in the current year of a further 20% over the previous year, numbers even more important if we consider our size. We observe a sharp increase in new customers, including by newcomerswho are approaching boating for the first time. They are younger, have an average age of around 45 for Azimut, for Benetti around 55, they appreciate and look for technologically advanced and innovative products, with a refined but essential design, sustainable and which guarantee the owner and his inner circle a total immersion in nature without sacrificing style, comfort and performance. In the US, a mature market, we had a 50% jump newcomers.

What are you aiming for for the future? What is the real challenge of your group?
a route that we have always followed: to innovate and always move beyond our goals. Today this means making a commitment to improve the environment in which we live. The main yardstick for measuring this commitment is the important milestones reached in reducing consumption, and therefore emissions: we are talking about a decrease of up to 30% less than the market average. a direction on which we have focused our studies for more than 10 years and which we are developing on the three areas that allow us to reduce consumption: lighten the structures (carbon which makes it 30% lighter); develop innovative propulsion for better efficiency, today for example on the Grande 26M with the Pod 4600 made together with ZF; second generation fairings, for the Magellano 30 the Dual Mode and for the Grande 36M D2P Displacement-to-Planing with high efficiency. Today more than half of the Azimut fleet is part of the god family Low Emission Yachts, boats whose high efficiency in terms of consumption allows to reduce CO2 emissions from 20% to 30%. In concrete terms, these are over 500 yachts with reduced environmental impact already in our seas. The environmental footprint is becoming an influential element in the choices of shipowners and we expect this trend to grow. Thanks to early investments, we have achieved concrete results. For the next four years we have also planned a group investment of 130M € for industrial development and production sites, with important actions in the field of environmental and social sustainability.

We will focus on reducing energy consumption through conversion to photovoltaics and trigeneration: in addition to the evident positive impact in terms of sustainability, in 3 years we will be autonomous for 50% of the company’s energy needs. Secondly, we are working – for example for the Avigliana site – on the digitization of industrial processes and on a further improvement of the conditions of workers, including training. These actions will lead to a 25% increase in production capacity in two years. We are also focusing on the development of innovative, performing and sustainable materials that bring elegance and lightness with them, such as our challenge to move from teak to cork. These are studies that we have started with great ahead of the sector, which are mature today and are bringing concrete results. A pioneering approach that will see a new synthesis in Azimut’s Seadeck line, the first in the world conceived with a holistic and integrated approach to sustainability – which will be released in 2024. Regarding Benetti, I recall B.Yond 37M, which has just been named Greenest Yacht in Cannes, for the reduction of CO2 emissions by 24% and NOx up to a maximum of 85%.

Is Azimut | Benetti planning to go public? Do you consider the strong presence of family businesses to be a strong point of the Italian system?
We are a family business and I am proud of it. I believe that family businesses bring with them a great sense of responsibility and a sense of work. Groups like ours have grown thanks to the ability to become a business and to structure themselves managerially, to innovate products and structure. Today the challenges are digitization and development of people and skills. Family businesses characterize the Italian business system and deliver value. I believe that the listing on the stock exchange mainly fulfills two needs: to draw liquidity, perhaps in anticipation of new investments, or to prepare a gradual divestment of the entrepreneur. In our case – at the moment there is none of these requirements.

How do you explain the progressive affirmation of Italian shipyards in the world? What are the strengths of the Made in Italy sector?
The ability to create a unique synthesis of technology and beauty.

On the contrary, what are the weaknesses of a country-system that could most support the business world?
Ours is an extraordinary country, surrounded by the sea and coasts that the world admires and searches for. I think it is important to be able to count on greater attention to boating, but we should work even more on our infrastructures and on more precise and effective legislation. I speak for example of an attractive Italian flag, which does not exist, of a structured promotion system of marinas, legislation favorable to chartering, and so on.

Like other leading sectors of Made in Italy, boating also speaks a lot to women: many women are now in top positions and many are growing in the intermediate ranks. the success of the sector that opens the doors to women or are women contributing to this success?
Hard question. I realize that you are a privileged person, the only child of a great entrepreneur. Boating is certainly giving more space to women, but there is still a long way to go.

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Vitelli (Azimut-Benetti): “Our future in low-emission maxi yachts”

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