Luxury yacht sales in S’pore expected to rise

SINGAPORE – Luxury yacht sales in Singapore are expected to rise on the back of rising wealth and affluence in the region.

Market players say they expect sales revenue of such craft to grow by as much as 15 per cent this year and they believe customers are likely to demand bigger boats as well.

The managing director of boating event organiser TMX Show Productions, Herman Ho said: “The industry now contributes merely less than 1 per cent to Singapore’s economy but it’s definitely on a gradual upswing momentum.”

The company organises the annual Boat Asia show in Singapore and last year the event generated about S$30 million in sales, according to Mr Ho.

Meanwhile, yacht dealers like Ms Annie Lin, the managing director of Taiwan-headquartered firm Horizon Yachts, highlighted that boat enthusiasts are also going for larger and more luxurious yachts.

“Earlier this year, we have seen a surge of people asking for bigger boats like the super-yacht – yachts that are longer than 24 metres. We expect sales to fare better with bigger boats this year,” said Ms Lin.

Experts say superyachts which measure about 100m long, can cost over S$100 million. Meanwhile, an average yacht can cost between S$200,000 and S$2 million.

However, boat owners would also have to take into account maintenance and upkeep costs which can range between 10 per cent and 25 per cent of the boat’s price a month.

The upbeat sentiment on sales prospects is buoyed by recent data which showed that the number of billionaires in Asia have grown to 332 in 2011 from 100 the year before.

“Traditionally, we have more expatriates, now we see more local Chinese and people around the Asian region and even the Russians – they have properties, investments and businesses here, so they buy and park their boats here in Singapore,” says Mr Ho.

The growing boating industry in Singapore also meant more jobs being created in the past few years. Experts estimated that some 3,000 people are now employed in the industry and they expect the number to increase about 10 to 15 per cent annually over the next few years.

“This caters to the high end service industry, you’ll attract the superyacht here with an average spending of S$188,000 to S$314,000 each time on refuel-ing, restocking and refitting,” Mr Ho comments.

At the same time, the Singapore-based managing director of boating firm ProMetheus Marine, Mr Alan Pickering, said that he is also upbeat of his company’s prospects this year.

Mr Pickering said last year was “a slow year for the company with six boats sold totalling S$2.5 million”.

He added that last year’s slower performance was in contrast to his achievement in 2007, when he sold 40 boats worth S$50 million.

Looking forward, Mr Pickering added “this year is going to be a better year, I’m confident we’ll surpass last year’s record – two steel boats worth S$1.7 million (were) already sold in these two months.”

Experts said that one setback for Singapore’s boating industry is its lack of berthing capacity for these luxury yachts.

Mr Ho said: “We may need to have more marinas and berthing facilities because I foresee in the next three to five years, if there’s no added capacity to the marina, we will run out of berths for boats, just like what’s happening to Hong Kong.”

He said that this would hinder future growth in the industry. “If there are no more berths, people can’t buy boats and that will definitely affect the industry in a big way,” said Mr Ho.


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