Despite initial interest from several superyacht builders, the auction to find new ownership for Perini Navi has failed. The Perini Navi bankruptcy therefore continues, keeping workers and partially constructed yachts in limbo.
In January, a court in Lucca declared the builder insolvent. This followed a judge rejecting a restructuring plan, plus a request from Perini Navi’s then-owners for more time to present alternate restructuring avenues. Court documents revealed that at the end of 2019, the builder was €80.87 million ($98 million) in the red. Furthermore, its debt exposure at the end of the first quarter of 2020 was nearly €100 million ($121.3 million). In declaring the Perini Navi bankruptcy, the court appointed a trustee to safeguard the assets under provisional operations. Those assets included construction sites in Viareggio and La Spezia in Italy, plus land in Pisa. While they also included the hull-fabrication yard in Turkey, it sold to a commercial shipbuilder in June. That shipbuilder has no plans for yacht construction.
Shortly thereafter, the bankruptcy trustee set a base auction price of €62.5 million for Perini Navi’s remaining assets. Bidders needed to provide a fixed security deposit of €10 million by July 28 and final acquisition details by July 29. The trustee additionally set the auction date for July 30. However, the companies that publicly expressed interest early on all declared the opening bid too high. These included Palumbo Superyachts, The Italian Sea Group, and a joint venture between the Ferretti Group and Sanlorenzo. In fact, Palumbo Superyachts issued a statement in early July stating that the price was “undeniably high.” It bowed out shortly thereafter. The Italian Sea Group, meanwhile, issued a statement in mid-July. When its financial consultants analyzed the bankruptcy documentation, “the findings have highlighted certain valuation elements indicating that it is not advisable for the Company to participate in the auction.”
We contacted Franco Della Santa, the bankruptcy trustee, for details on the Perini Navi bankruptcy next steps. We did not receive a reply by press time. Interestingly, though, the trade magazine IBI reports that a second auction may take place in the fall. Additionally, it reports, opening bids may be as much as 25 percent lower.
Regardless, the failed auction and any future auctions don’t solely involve the shipyard facilities and brand names. Included is C. 2369, a 154-foot (47-meter) sailing superyacht started on spec and signed in 2019. A few other stalled sailing-superyacht projects also exist. But, the bankruptcy trustee reportedly is working with their owners independently to find solutions. Those solutions could be, for instance, at other shipyards or with Perini Navi if new ownership ultimately steps forward.
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