Rodriguez Group S.A.
Rodriguez Group S.A.
105 Avenue des Freres Roustan
Golfe Juan, F-06220
France Telephone: (33 04) 97 21 81 81
Fax: (33 04) 97 21 87 17
Web site: http://www.rodriguezgroup.com
Sales: EUR 474.75 million ($610 million) (2006)
Stock Exchanges: Euronext Paris
Ticker Symbols: 6299; ROD
NAIC: 336611 Ship Building and Repairing
Rodriguez Group S.A. is one of the world's leading names in yacht design and sales. Rodriguez operates in three main areas: new yacht design and sales; used yacht brokerage sales; and services, including yacht management, maintenance, chartering, and related services. New yacht sales represent the largest part of the company's business, accounting for 57 percent of its sales of EUR 475 million ($610 million) in 2006.
Rodriguez claims the world's leading position in the 20-plus-meter Open segment. The company's semicustom Open yacht designs includes the Leopard, the Mangusta and the Astondoa designs, ranging from 23 to 41 meters in length, and from EUR 3 million to EUR 20 million in price. Sales of used yachts, including the company's own yachts and yachts originally designed by others, add another 23 percent to group sales. In the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, Rodriguez has begun to emphasize development of its Customs yacht operations, especially the design and sales of "megayachts" ranging from 37 meters and beyond, with starting prices at EUR 15 million. This segment accounted for 12 percent of group sales in 2006.
Unlike competitors, including Italian rivals Ferretti Group, Rodriquez SpA, and Azimut Benetti, Rodriguez Group company does not own its own shipyards. Instead, the company works with partners, including Italy's Arno, International Shipyards Ancona and Overmarine shipyards, and Spain's Astondoa shipyards, while Rodriguez oversees the design and fitting of the ships' interiors.
International sales account for the major part of Rodriguez Group's annual sales, topping 91 percent in 2006. Europe, especially Italy (18 percent), the United Kingdom (16 percent), Switzerland (15 percent) and France (9 percent), account for most of the group's sales. The Americas contributed 19 percent, while the Middle East, supported by the opening of a new subsidiary in Dubai in 2006, added 14 percent to sales that year. Listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, Rodriguez remains controlled by the founding Rodriguez family, which holds 57 percent of shares. Founder Gérard Rodriguez is company chairman, while son Alexandre Rodriguez serves as managing director.
YACHTING NEWCOMER IN 1979
Part of a Spanish family with a background in the maritime industry, Gérard Rodriguez arrived in France with next to nothing. Rodriguez soon found work in the marina's of France's Cote d'Azur, and by the end of the 1960s, had worked his way up to serving as a yacht captain. From there, Rodriguez launched a consultancy serving as a middleman for used yacht sales and purchases. By 1972, Rodriguez had formed his own company in Cannes. Before long, Rodriguez's company focused on the leisure boat market, especially the fast-growing market for luxury yachts. From the start, Rodriguez offered a strong service component, providing maintenance, yacht management and staffing, chartering, and other services.
Through the 1970s, Rodriguez interest turned more and more to yacht design. By the end of that decade, Rodriguez took credit for developing an entirely new yacht category, called "Open" yachts. This new design married the large scale and luxuriousness of traditional yachts with the open bridge design of speedboats and smaller leisure craft.
Rather than invest in developing his own shipbuilding operations, Rodriguez hit upon the idea of seeking out partnerships with other shipyards. In this way, the company was able to maintain a larger degree of flexibility, and higher margins. In 1979, the company located its first partner, at the Arno Shipyards in Viareggio, Italy. That partnership resulted in the launch of Rodriguez's first large-scale Open design, the Leopard series. The Leopard represented something of a revolution in the worldwide yachting industry and quickly became a bestseller for the company. Rodriguez also established a strong reputation for the high quality of its interiors and other ship appointments. By 1981, Rodriguez had secured the exclusive rights to sales of all Leopard series boats produced at the Arno shipyard. By then, the company had also begun to extend its yacht sales beyond a largely European clientele to include its first sales to the oil-rich Middle Eastern market. The North and South American markets also grew into major regions for the company.
The rising number of millionaires and billionaires throughout the world encouraged Rodriguez to continue developing new yacht designs. The Leopard series, initially launched as a 23-meter vessel, then expanded to include 24-meter and 27-meter variations. Later, the Leopard series would continue to grow, expanding into the "mega-yacht" category, with sizes ranging from 31 to 34 meters.
By then, Rodriguez had launched a second yacht line, the Mangusta, which debuted in 1986. For the new line, Rodriguez negotiated an exclusive products contract at the Overmarine shipyard, also located in Viareggio, Italy. The Mangusta series, with sizes starting at 72 feet, later expanded its range to include a 130-foot model, which became the world's fastest and most powerful Open yacht line.
PUBLIC OFFERING IN 1998
Along with its growing new yacht sales operations, Rodriguez continued to serve as a consultant for the sale of preowned vessels, including both its own designs and yachts produced by third parties. The company also boosted its service offering in the late 1980s, setting up its own shipyard facility in Golfe-Juan, on France's Cote d'Azur, in 1989. The new facility enabled the company to boost its range of ship maintenance and repair services.
Rodriguez Group's mission is to offer its very selective clientele a complete range of luxury yachting products and services. Its SEMI-CUSTOMS business focuses on the design, construction management and sale of state-of-the-art luxury yachts, essentially large Open series models, for which it is recognized as pioneer and world leader. Its CUSTOMS business focuses on the development of a strong offer in the building of fully customized large yachts exceeding 40 meters in length. Rodriguez Group is a leading player in the market. Its SERVICES business focuses on the delivery of premium yacht Brokerage, Charter, Maintenance and Management services, for which it is also recognized as world leader. This unique combination of products and services has made Rodriguez Group the world leader in luxury yachting.
Through the 1990s, Rodriguez began developing its subsidiary network in order to boost its range of sales and after-market sales services. To this end, the company opened an office in Saint-Tropez in 1994. This was followed by the creation of a subsidiary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, SNP Boat Service Inc., to provide local services to its American customers, in 1995. Back at home, Rodriguez added a ship's chandlers subsidiary, Le Yacht SA, based in Golfe Juan. That company, initially directly owned by the Rodriguez family, sold yachting supplies and fittings, as well as clothing and other yachting accessories. By 1996, the family had transferred ownership of Le Yacht to the Rodriguez Group itself.
Rodriguez Group went public in 1998, listing its shares on the Paris Bourse's Secondary Market. The public listing ultimately reduced the Rodriguez family's share of the company to 57 percent. In the meantime, Gérard Rodriguez had been joined by his son Alexandre Rodriguez, who took over as the company's managing director at the beginning of the new decade. Gérard Rodriguez took on the role of company chairman, retiring from day-to-day management of the company in order to focus his attention on developing new yacht designs.
By then, Rodriguez remained firmly in command of the large-scale Open yacht market it had created, claiming an 80 percent share of the global market for 20-meter-plus open-designed yachts. In 2001, however, Rodriguez established itself as the world's leading luxury yacht group, through its acquisition of brokering and chartering specialist Camper & Nicholsons International.
That company had been founded in 1782 and established itself as one of the world's leading names in luxury sailboats and motor yachts. Camper & Nicholsons originally built steam yachts, including the 211-foot Sagitta, launching in 1908. The company completed two other noteworthy steam-driven yachts around this time, the 206-foot Miranda, in 1909, and the 211-foot Marynthea, in 1911.
Camper & Nicholsons turned toward the diesel engine in 1913, launching the 150-foot Pionner in that year. The use of internal combustion engines also permitted the company to develop smaller and faster yacht designs, such as the 50-foot Gelyce introduced in 1912. Yet Camper & Nicholsons remained noted for its large-scale ships as well, including its 263-foot Philante, built in 1937. During World War II and in the immediate postwar years, Camper & Nicholsons turned its shipbuilding expertise to the support of the British war effort, but by the end of the 1950s had returned to yacht-building. The following decade, the company teamed up with renowned speedboat designer Ray Hunt. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the company also developed strong operations in the yacht services, such as brokering and chartering. These operations helped keep the company afloat as its shipbuilding business fell on hard times in the 1990s. In 1999, the company sold its shipbuilding wing to Cammell Laird. That business, later acquired by Nautor Swan International, continued producing ships under the Camper & Nicholsons name.
FOCUS ON MEGA-YACHTS FOR THE NEW CENTURY
Rodriguez Group also expanded its range of vessels into the 2000s. The company added a third class to its semicustom line with the introduction of the new Astondoa series of cabin cruiser yachts. These vessels, built in partnership by the Astondoa shipyards in Spain, allowed Rodriguez to extend its line to include the more traditional closed-hull infrastructure.
The rise of an entirely new class of super-wealthy at the dawn of the 21st century created a surge in demand for entirely new, custom-designed luxury craft. Rodriguez leapt into this arena in 2001, developing a partnership with International Shipyards Ancona (ISA) to develop a line of Custom vessels. The new yacht designs started at 47-meters, based on fiberglass hull designs. At the same time, however, the company began developing steel and aluminum hull in order to design vessels capable of transatlantic and transoceanic travel.
- Gérard Rodriguez, a former yacht captain, launches yacht brokerage agency in Cannes, France.
- Rodriguez pioneers large-scale Open infrastructure yacht category with launch of Leopard series built in partnership with Arno Shipyards in Italy.
- Launch of Mangusta series of Open yachts, built by Overmarine Shipyard in Italy.
- Rodriguez Group goes public with listing on Paris Stock Exchange's Secondary Market.
- Company acquires Camper & Nicholsons International, then Box Saxon Associates, to become world leader in luxury yacht sales and services.
- Launch of 165-foot Mangusta series, world's largest open-hull infrastructure yacht.
The acquisition of Bob Saxon Associates, which boosted the company's services operations, and notably its yacht management operations, helped consolidate Rodriguez Group's transformation from midsized yacht company into one of the sector's world leaders. The company continued to extend its service network, adding a yacht maintenance marina and ship chandlers business in Tunisia. In 2005, the company created a new subsidiary, W. Service SpA, in order to extend its maintenance services to Savona, Italy. This was followed by the launch of a new sales subsidiary in Dubai in 2006. Also that year the company opened an office, shared by Camper & Nicholsons, in New York City. This was followed by the creation of a sales office in Porto Cervo, in Sardinia.
Rodriguez's focus on the mega-yacht category bore fruit in the middle of the first decade of the 2000s. The company launched the Mangusta 130, then the world's longest Open yacht. By 2007, the company had established a new world record, with the launch of the Mangusta 165', priced at approximately EUR 20 million. The company's then announced plans to build at least two of this new class of vessel per year, starting from 2009. With the ranks of the world's super-wealthy expected to increase steadily in the new century, Rodriguez Group looked for to a future of smooth sailing.
M. L. Cohen
Bob Saxon Associates; Camper & Nicholsons International (Luxembourg); Gerard Rodriguez S.A.S.; Le Yacht S.A.; SNP Boat Service S.A.; W. Service SpA (Italy).
Ferretti Group SpA; Beneteau S.A.; Genmar Holdings Inc.; Azimut Benetti SpA; Friede Goldman Halter Inc.; Bavaria Yachtbau GmbH; Hatteras Yachts; Rodriquez SpA.
Ashworth, Jon, "French Buy Yacht Firm," Times, April 12, 2001, p. 29.
Caprio, Dennis, "Hunt for Camper & Nicholsons," Yachting, July 1, 2004, p. 21.
Hazlett, Courtney, "ISA 47m April Fool," Yachting, October 2003, p. 158.
"The Rodriguez Group Acquired Camper and Nicholsons International,:" Motorboating, July 2001, p. 86.
"Rodriguez Group Joins SBF 250 Index," Les Echos, November 28, 2000, p. 18.