Companies within the megayacht business tend to know when a competitor is on shaky ground. For a builder to publicly state that it “has been shaking for almost a year now” is pretty uncommon – but KaiserWerft did just that in late January. It was part of an announcement that the Germany-based yard was acquired by a group of investors and has an additional facility at its disposal.
With headquarters in Saal, KaiserWerft has been building yachts from 31 to 41 meters (102 to 134 feet) since 1989. The rounded lines of launches like Catwalk (above), GoldenEye, and Cloud 9 probably drew the most attention to the yard in recent years. But things changed in 2008: “In the beginning of the economic crisis, clients cancelled their orders,” the yard states in a press release – another pretty uncommon admission. (While most megayacht companies have admitted the past year was a “challenge,” to say the least, some will only admit privately that they lost clients, while others won’t confirm or deny any difficulties.) An investors group with experience in yacht and ship construction acquired the molds and machinery at the Saal shipyard, additionally dramatically increasing the area occupied by construction sheds. The same investors bought a facility in Antalya, Turkey, for KaiserWerft to use.
The changes mean KaiserWerft can now build up to 65 meters (215 feet). It intends to still build mostly in Germany and focus on lightweight aluminum and steel yachts. It additionally intends to continue building custom as well as semicustom vessels.
KaiserWerft also released the following statement:
Through the financial power gained by the transaction, the company is able to introduce and to speed up new production, to support clients and dealers and to develop new sales channels. Furthermore, the investors will avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and will set a new future-bearing concept. With the new ownership, the KaiserWerft intends to cooperate with international famous designer offices within the next 2 years, to develop a number of sail- and motoryachts.