Ferretti Group to open assembly plant in China

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Ferretti Group intends to open an assembly plant in China as its new Chinese parent seeks to drive up sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Tan Xuguang, chairman of the company and of its majority-owner Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group, told reporters in Beijing today that the plant will customize vessels for the local market, according to a Bloomberg News report.

The yachtmaker is considering plans for the facility in Qingdao, Shandong province.

Ferretti plans to boost sales in emerging markets led by China, Brazil and Russia.

On Monday, Xuguang told reporters he was exploring ways to integrate Ferretti’s engineering and branding strengths into the group’s Chinese operations, which are focused on commercial vehicle engines, according to Forbes.com.

Tan said Monday future orders for China could be finished in Qingdao, a port in Shandong, but he emphasized that Ferretti will remain an Italian company, emphasizing that operations will continue from Italy.

The state-owned Shandong Heavy Industry Group could be in a position to benefit from a Chinese trend toward luxury products after this year’s 374 million euro ($299 million) acquisition of Ferretti.

After a debt-to-equity swap, the Chinese company’s Weichai Group owns 75 percent of Ferretti, which ran aground after yacht sales peaked in 2007, Forbes.com reported. Its markets in Europe and North America subsequently went south and Ferretti found itself mired in debt. Now it’s betting on rising wealth in China and other emerging markets to energize the sales of its luxury boats.

The new ownership “will give us unbelievable access to emerging markets such as China, where the potential is the highest in the world,” as well as continuing focus on Europe and the U.S., Ferretti CEO Ferruccio Rossi said in Beijing today, according to Bloomberg News.

The boat-builder, which makes Ferretti, Pershing and Bertram brand yachts, announced in January it will retain its existing management as well as its headquarters and production facilities in Italy. Bertram builds yachts at its facility in Merritt Island, Fla.

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