The UK’s Discovery Yacht Group, which formed in its current structure last April with a management buy-out, has major plans to expand its activities in the future with new brands, new models and new facilities.
Helping to fund these plans was a successful crowdfunding round which aimed to raise £750,000 but in fact attracted some £2.25m. The round involved some 500 people who contributed between £10 and £750,000. These contributors are now shareholders in Discovery and account for about a 20% stake in the group, which puts a total ball park value on the group around £12m.
Group managing director, Sean Langdon, explained to IBI: “We will use the crowdfunding money for a new 22.5m (74ft) model for a new brand called Britannia Yachts which is going to be launched at the London-on-Water Show in May and also the new Bluewater 60 catamaran.”
Britannia Yachts will be the group’s new flagship brand, offering a ᤙ8;agship superyacht class with a traditional aesthetic. The Bluewater range was drawn out of the Discovery brand and was developed to focus on the growing cruising catamaran market.
Discovery launched the new dual-branded Discovery 48/Southerly 480 at boot Düsseldorf, and other new models are in the pipeline. “We will launch the new 54 and 42 at Southampton and there will be a new 69 dual-branded model coming, plus a new 45 in about three years,” Langdon added.
At Düsseldorf, Langdon pointed out: “The Group is now a strong and agile business with differentiated target audiences, increasing global reach, clear brand USPs and underpinned by a high-quality UK operation. The business model has evolved to include pre-owned brokerage and charter alongside the differentiated yachts sales channel.”
Langdon confirmed to IBI that: “We are interested in the Oyster brand because while it is a competitor in some markets, it is complementary in others. Also, it has a very good facility. We are waiting to learn more as the administration is fully implemented.”
He pointed out that Discovery is looking for new facilities. “As of yesterday, we have 10 yachts in build on a site which previous only built four to six boats a year. It is very tight. We are looking at three or four possible locations mostly in the Solent area. We are looking for anything that matches our group strategy of British-built quality yachts. There is one site we may lease and then acquire it.”
Discovery currently has 16 orders, of which 10 are in build. As one of these is a catamaran, this extends the order book to the end of 2019. “If we can take a few more orders then we will be full for 2019. In the months following Düsseldorf we hope to sign four or five more orders.”
With this rapid expansion the Discovery workforce has risen from 35 last April to 135 today. “We have taken on about 25 people from Oyster and we are getting five or six applications a day,” Langdon pointed out. “In the first week there was one every half-hour.”
As to its brand ambassador programme, Discovery currently has one in Italy, one in Germany and two in the US. “There are five currently being reviewed and by the end of the year we will have 10 in place,” Langdon said.
As to sales he indicated that 50% are in the UK and of the other 50%, Europe and the US account for 25% each. “We are looking at three ambassadors covering Oceania and Asia,” Langdon told IBI.