- 1 May 2022
Giuseppe Palumbo talks to Daily Nautica: “My grandfather was a pioneer in shipbuilding. I brought in the super yachts division”
Interview with Giuseppe Palumbo, founder and CEO of Palumbo Superyachts, who takes us through the past, present and future of the shipyard
Building new pleasure boats and refitting are the things which have made Palumbo Superyachts famous, the large shipbuilding network of which Giuseppe Palumbo is CEO.
Today, Palumbo Superyachts oversees the brands: Isa Yachts, Columbus Yachts, Extra Yachts, Palumbo Sy Refit and Mondomarine and has five shipyards around the Mediterranean (Ancona, Savona, Naples, Marseilles and Malta).
However, building superyachts began only in 2008, under Giuseppe Palumbo, who, in this interview, takes us through the past, present and future of the shipyard.
The Palumbo shipyards work with large commercial ships and mega yachts, with a network of building sites and basins around the Mediterranean and beyond. How are the “production lines” divided? Which shipyards are dedicated to super yachts?
The Palumbo Superyachts division opened in 2008 when our family decided to create the Columbus brand and build a 54 metre yacht. It was a good choice which allowed us to invest in other hulls and different models. Following that we acquired ISA Yachts in Ancona and Mondomarine in Savona, respectively in 2016 and 2018.
Now our headquarters for new builds is in Ancona, while we also operate in Naples, Savona, Marseilles and Malta for the refit of super yachts. Last year we also opened a service point in the Caribbean and Central America to offer our excellent services to vessels that do the double season in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
When Salvatore Palumbo, in 1967, founded to boat building company, what were his objectives?
My grandfather was a pioneer for his time and passed the helm over to my father when he was very young. My father, Antonio Palumbo, together with myself and my brother, Raffaele, understood how to interpret the refitting market, investing and diversifying the business and areas of operation. The Superyachts division was something I wanted, and it started with my passion for pleasure boating. Now in the company, the fourth generation has begun working, and they will have the honour of evolving the market with their own new strategies.
How were you able to create one of the most important refit & repair networks in the Mediterranean?
With consistency and dedication. Acquisitions have always been evaluated carefully and with very clear strategic objectives. In this way we have avoided overlapping. In addition, each shipyard is autonomous and can comply with the most complex needs in regards to both design and work.
The sites each have the latest infrastructure. Savona, since their definitive concession a few months ago, is currently carrying out all the investments required by the industrial plan. This will make the facility one of the most qualified in the local area. In addition, having filled Ancona to capacity, we have decided to begin building, in Savona, a new 40-metre vessel, the Columbus Crossover.
In 2013 you launched the Columbus Sport Hybrid, a 40-metre super yacht that won you an award: you were the first shipyard to receive certification for hybrid propulsion. What are your new prospects for environmental sustainability now?
We are keeping careful watch on new technology but implementing it is always a slow process in boating compared to in other markets. In addition, in our industry, the owner becomes an essential partner, and not all clients are ready for that. At the moment we are building a 50 metre, the Columbus Project “Lady”, which will use hybrid propulsion, air sanitisation systems and have eco-friendly interiors. It is a truly innovative design, with a client who is very focused on environmental impact and sustainability.
What is the type of client who comes to you to have their megayacht built?
Our clients are attentive to details, they are looking for charming design but with a consolidated platform. The range of brands present in Palumbo Superyachts allows clients to choose different solutions and create a bespoke design based on their needs. Even with the Extra Yachts line, which starts at 24 metres, we are focused on mature clients, who understand the high quality of the components we use.
In 2016 you acquired ISA Yachts. What is this brand’s role today as part of the Palumbo group? Two years later, in 2018, Palumbo also brought Mondomarine into the fold. What is the heart of this brand?
These are two very different acquisitions. With ISA yachts we were trying to expand our production and needed a modern and versatile area to turn into our headquarters. In addition, the brand has always had international recognition and we are still focusing on keeping its style and roots. ISA creates very fast fibreglass models, like for example the latest ISA Super Sportivo GTO 100, but, it is over 40 metres that it is most recognisable. In November 2021 we delivered the new ISA Classic 65 metre Resilience and in a few days we will be launching the new ISA GT 45, both in steel with aluminium superstructure.
Mondomarine, instead, has a much more complex history because it was only finally ceded at the end of 2021. We have, however, invested in new designs and brought ahead a series of initiatives tied to our refit compartment but it will only be this year that we will be able to implement the industrial plan that we presented. Mondomarine’s offering is concentrated between 43 and 63 metres, mainly in aluminium, where we will offer a classic range of explorers called Discovery.