Ferretti eyes expansion in Brazil

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Italian yacht builder Ferretti is turning to the new super-rich of Brazil as sales have slumped to its traditional customers in the marinas of the Mediterranean.

The company plans to boost its Brazilian work force from 600 to 1,000 and increase sales by as much as 15 percent annually during the next three to four years, chief executive Giancarlo Galeone told the Financial Times.

Brazil is fast becoming one of the top new investment destinations for the yachting industry, thanks to surging salaries, the country’s large coastline and year-round warm weather.

However, as international boatbuilders look beyond stagnant markets of Europe and the United States, the Latin American country soon could be overwhelmed by a glut of supply, analysts have warned.

“Brazil is a very attractive market. The difference between Brazil and China, for example, is that there is already a culture of yachting here,” Galeone said. “There are people who like boating; there are harbors and yachting clubs.”

However, yacht builders such as Ferretti should be braced for tough competition in Brazil, said Eduardo Colunna, president of the Brazilian Boat Building Association.

“Foreign companies are flocking here because of the situation abroad, but our market is slowing,” he told the newspaper. “Some are also imagining the market to be bigger than it is.”

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