French catamaran yard becomes 7th brand in the German group

HanseYachts AG from Greifswald, which claims to be the second largest sailing yacht manufacturer in the world, announced last night that it is buying the catamaran yard Privilège Marine SAS in France from parent company Aurelius.

In June 2017, the French manufacturer of multihull sailing and motor yachts in the luxury segment was taken over by the German financial investor Aurelius – whose portfolio  investments which includes 21 companies – came to just under €4 billion in 2018 annual sales. Hanse Yachts then bought the moulds of existing boat models from Aurelius and secured the marketing rights. In addition, a consulting and purchasing agreement was concluded so that the German company was able to “extend its skills in series construction and the resulting sales opportunities” to the French catamaran yard, the Hanse spokesperson said. Since then, Privilege Marine has been publicly regarded as part of the Hanse Yachts portfolio, but this transaction represents full transfer of all ownership rights and assets to the German builder.

Overcoming a dry spell

“After a dry spell”, says Hanse Yachts CEO Jens Gerhardt, “Privilège is now at break-even”, the beginning of profitability. “This is the ideal time for us to take over the company completely and expand our multi-brand strategy.” According to Gerhardt, Privilège Marine has a healthy order backlog of more than €25 million.

Hanse Yachts has repeatedly surprised the public with strategically sound acquisitions of brands and shipyards. According to the CEO of Hanse Yachts, catamarans are one area in which Hanse could become even stronger. In an interview with float, Jens Gerhardt said: “For us, the trend was strongly towards large boats and luxury. We are typically not a manufacturer for charter fleets and entry-price buyers. That’s why we have taken over this brand in the catamaran sector, where we weren’t present yet. Privilège starts from the price level where Hanse ends.”

“The market for catamarans is very attractive, it is the fastest growing of all market segments in the world and has doubled in less than five years”, Jens Gerhardt added in a statement. “By acquiring Privilège for an attractive purchase price of 500,000 euros, we are increasing our capacity by more than 30 million euros per year, giving a further boost to our long-term growth course.”

Existing debts to be eliminated soon

Privilège’s existing debts to the existing shareholder are to be repaid in full in the near future by issuing new shares. This will further strengthen HanseYachts AG. “To ensure that our existing free float shareholders are not diluted by the measure, we are also offering a cash capital increase with a subscription right of 1 to 9.”

Privilège Marine builds small series with often individualized equipment according to customer requirements. Some time ago the first Series 5 hybrid catamaran from Privilège was equipped with electrical inboard motor systems and complete energy management from Torqeedo.