Private equity group acquires Navigator Yachts

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Navigator Yachts Inc., builder of Navigator Yachts and Californian Yachts, has been sold to a private equity investment group and is now operating under the name Navigator Yachts and Products Inc.

Alberto Cogliati, who has worked with the company for a dozen years and is now filling the role of general manager, confirmed to Soundings Trade Only that the company was sold at the end of 2012 and got back up and running under new ownership early this year after completing the permitting and sale process.

“A lot of people are calling and inquiring about it,” Cogliati told Trade Only. “We haven’t announced it officially yet, but yes, the company was sold.”

The new owners have opted not to release their identity to the public at this time, Cogliati told Trade Only this morning.

The company plans to maintain its focus on building and selling in the United States while also exploring international opportunities, Cogliati said. It also will make some changes to its model lineup and likely will introduce a new model. The goal will be to implement building innovations and explore options in alternative materials to keep costs down and prices lower while maintaining the quality of the products.

Jule Marshall, who founded Californian Yachts in 1972 and Navigator Yachts in 1988, is no longer involved in the company, Cogliati said.

“The good news is that we’re financially stronger, and we’re looking to grow our dealer network and expand our market outside of the United States,” he said. “We’re still maintaining all of our dealers in the United States and even trying to expand in the U.S. And I’m looking at some South American markets and probably some Asian markets.”

The 45- to 68-foot semicustom long-range cruisers will continue to be built in Perris, Calif.

When the economy was robust the company was building roughly four yachts a month, but the downturn caused that number to drop to eight to 10 units a year, Cogliati said.

“What we build is nothing small, so it’s very important for us to expand the market because I don’t think now in the United States we can sustain three or four boats a month,” Cogliati said. “The only way to go forward with production is to explore other markets. I do believe in trying to keep as much as possible in this country. So my priority is trying to build boats here in California and then send boats to Brazil and other countries.”

The company also wants to change some things model-wise, Cogliati said, and introduce a new boat to the lineup.

“We’re reintroducing some models that have been successful,” Cogliati said. “Our models are fairly popular, especially here in California and in the Northwest. The last thing we want to do is increase the price of powerboats, especially with the economy the way it is. We’re trying to keep the price down while building a quality boat and investing some money in some of the quality features that people want.”

The company will try to lower the in-house cost of building the boats by using new techniques that will reduce the time spent building, Cogliati said.

“We want to provide a turnkey product that doesn’t require any extra investment from the customer.”

— Reagan Haynes

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