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SUPERYACHT #505
May 2004

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news


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Renato Kobau, General Manager of SelmaBipiemme Leasing S.p.A was interviewed by Fabio Petrone


LEASING BOATS
ARE BECOMING BIGGER

A new leasing law has at last been approved in Italy. The law, known as "Italian leasing" allows a reduction in VAT on bigger boats that have been bought through financial leasing. Currently the longer a boat is outside of EU waters the greater the VAT reduction is. This figure is calculated on engine size regarding motorboats and sail surface area in sail boats and just to remind you is about 20%. We asked Mr.Kobau how his company and the market generally has faired under this law since its implementation two years ago.

Considering that those who benefit the most from this law have been boat owners, have you noticed any growth in superyacht sales? Is it true that this market sector is still growing?

Boat owners are now buying bigger boats. It is now more attractive financially to buy bigger boats, moreover the chance of "buying" a boat through financial leasing is a more feasible option as large sums of money are not necessary or do not have to be moved from other investments when leasing. This makes it easier for Italian and foreign boat owners.

A lot of recently built superyachts have been purchased by companies that use them as charter boats. In these cases, is there anything different in the way financial leasing works? Do you have a financial package specifically created for bigger charter boats?

Financial leasing has always been a financial instrument dedicated both to private buyers and charter companies alike. Companies are particularly interested in our financial package as it's flexible and it can be tailored to clients specific needs. This is why there are more and more companies that think that Italian leasing is a good financial tool. Moreover, new provisions within the law will allow you to register the boat as a commercial craft making Italian leasing even more appealing in the future.

Are all your clients Italian or, thanks to this new Law, have you noticed that foreign clients are also interested in your financial packages?

As I have said, Italian leasing is up and working within the European market, becoming a valid alternative to other financial packages already available in the boat market. We have a lot of contact with clients from many Countries, especially Greece, Spain, France and the UK.

Often extra services make the difference between competitors. What does SelmaBipiemme do or offer that the current competition in the financial sector does not?

Nowadays we are able to include financial leasing to all services connected with boats (insurance, administrative services for purchase and registration, maintenance costs - agreed with the manufacturer..) but what the client really wants is careful and personal attention in understanding and finding the best option (financial or not) when purchasing a boat. This is the sector in which all financial companies are competing in. We have to be able to manage each client with high degree of professionalism and exclusivity during the contract, in particular when the client decides to change their boat or to sell it before the expiry date of the original contract.

The boating industry has undeniably grown in the last few years even though the real boom hasn't yet materialized. In your opinion what's been the missing ingredient? Has it been a of lack of mooring places?

Ports and mooring places are surely problems to discuss and try and solve. With reference to this problem we are aware that Italian and foreign boat owners are very careful when analyze the behaviors of the legislator and of the Public Administration. Italian boat owners are looking for tranquility and reliability, they don't want to be constantly regulated or checked up on, they want to have trouble free fun within a legal framework that the new Law is trying to promote. We hope that this process proceeds quickly and that our 8000 kilometers of coastline will be more appreciated by Italian and other boat owners.

For further information: SELMABIPIEMME LEASING SPA, Via Battistotti Sassi 11/A, 20133 Milano Tel. +39 (0)2 74822313 - Fax +39 (0)2 74822822 E-mail: nautica@selmabipiemme.it