In its just 18 years of existence, the Absolute Yachts shipyard has grown to be one of the most interesting players on the global nautical scene
by Francesco Michienzi
Absolute Yachts is one of the few shipyards in the world that can boast a financial statement, which displays a nice and round zero under the item “debts”. This is where you need to start if you want to understand the continuous ascent of this all-Italian company, which has made financial rigour into its strength.
The double A bank rating, the 63 million Euro turnover, an Ebitda of 19.5 per cent, and 19 million in liquidity, allow it to face international markets with the necessary serenity. The economic and financial aspect, however, is only the premise of an entrepreneurial philosophy based on concreteness and on the idea of a cohesive society. The people who work in the shipyard are part of a large family where each member is called upon to make his or her contribution and to be fully aware of the importance of the role they play. Workers, craftsmen, employees, designers, and managers all move in harmony to obtain the very best.
Marcello Bè and Sergio Maggi founded Absolute in 2002, strong with their long experience in the industry and with their futuristic vision of how to do business in the nautical industry. The great turn of events came with a series of new entries into the company: Patrizia Gobbi, Paola Carini, Giuseppe Bertocci and Angelo Gobbi, who took on the presidency in 2007.
The partners all work in the company and each one deals with a specific aspect of the business, without saving either physical nor intellectual energy. The results are immediacy and sharing on every level, a clear awareness of the goals and methods established to obtain them, and the satisfaction of working in a cohesive team. In an environment like this, it is only natural to find material and immaterial elements of both individual and collective gratification.
Over the past ten years, the company has acquired international fame, with about 90 vessels produced per year, divided into four lines ranging from 40 to 73 feet, Flybridge, Sport Line, Sport Yacht, and Navetta. Thanks to 40 dealers, the brand is now distributed in 20 countries all over the world. We had the pleasure of visiting the plants exactly ten years after the construction of the new shipyards. Already then, it looked like the offspring of an innovative vision, thanks to certain choices that clearly showed an industrial development aimed at quality – both on the site and in terms of the people working on it.
The general feeling we had was a mix of amazement and admiration. Boats are products that require a great amount of manual work, which needs to be carried out by expert hands, and the industrial process must take this into consideration. In fact, to reach ideal results, both from the point of view of quality and from the point of view of financial competitiveness, everything needs to be strongly based on a valid project.
In Podenzano we had the pleasant feeling of standing in an authentic industry, where everything was thought through down to the smallest detail to obtain the very best result from every action. Over the past ten years, the automated vertical warehouse and ventilation systems in the lamination department have been doubled.
The facilities have moreover been equipped with an automatic resin feeding system and a new CNC work centre for the carpentry department and for the storage and automatic movement of plywood. The construction of a new pool to test all the on-board equipment is planned for 2019. Absolute Yachts independently manages every single stage of their boats’ life cycle: concept, design, engineering, modelling, creation of moulds and setup of the production, lamination, and structural assembly, installation and assembly of equipment and furniture, tests, delivery logistics, and final setup of the boat. The covered surface of the plant dedicated to production is 30 thousand square metres within an overall area of 58 thousand.
Angelo Gobbi is particularly proud of the flattering results obtained in recent years:
«We want people to understand who we are and where we are going, the nautical world has changed. When sacrifices were required, our company actually implemented what no other entrepreneur in the nautical business even envisioned: we invested even more financial resources in order to oil and fix the machine anew».
Even during the toughest moments of the global financial crisis, when the consumption of luxury goods experienced significant reductions, the company stood strong: «We adapted, we changed our models and diversified in new countries where we could distribute our boats. In 2013, there was a significant recovery in our turnover, we conquered new markets and allowed the turnover to keep growing constantly. Today, 240 people work in our plant and offices producing about 90 vessels per year».
(Absolute Yachts, shared values – Barchemagazine.com – October 2018)