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Summer 2007

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



Yachting catalogue

Navigation tests

Used boats


Video Nautica

Angelo Colombo
interviews Marcello Maggi Sales Director of International Shipyards Ancona, ISA


International Shipyards Ancona

We met Marcello Maggi at the last Dubai International Boat Show and we seized the opportunity to ask him the current state of things at International Shipyards Ancona (ISA) as well as their plans for the future.

We are aware of major news regarding ISA's set up, could you briefly tell us about it?

Marcello Maggi To begin with ISA's share capital was 20% owned by its own management and 80% by private enterprise. The management share has remained unchanged in time but the major stake holder has changed hands and is today owned by Yachting Investor a fund within a fund of larger proportions that has decided to move into the nautical sector through us. I am certain they will make their weight felt in the market as new acquisitions are on the books and the overall objective is to be quoted on the Stock Exchange within seven to ten years time.

How was this change determined?

Through change itself really, needs have changed, one should consider that we started off with five staff and zero sales. Today 120 people are fully occupied in production within the shipyard on a daily basis and a further 500 contribute from the outside, a fast expanding business therefore which has been planned out both in the short and medium term with little to do with our beginnings. At this stage we feel that the type of investment required should come from those with conventional steel works backgrounds who are used to following a strategy rather than expecting immediate results.

You mentioned acquisitions, may we ask where you're looking to?

We will be shopping around but all has yet to be decided. We will in any case favour companies that are already focused on producing large sized yachts.

Do you think the new stake holders will also influence the type of production that has been your trade mark so far?

The investors of this fund know us well they appreciate us for the work we have done so far and therefore the type of production won't change. We will continue with the ISA 120s and later in 2009 we will present a new planing vessel built in fibre-glass which will be known as the ISA 140; it will be a Vallicelli project of some 43 metres which we think we'll be able to push at 33 knots. The 120 reaches 36, it is a very modern boat. We will then move on to increasing production out of steel, we are already building a 48 metre even in the absence of a buyer and delivery is planned for 2008. We are also working hard on projects for 60 and 77 metre steel and aluminium superstructure production. The market seems to have well received the yard's new strategy, I can only say that we will build magnificent boats which will be characterized by innovation, we want to build new boats where the reviews will not express any shades of doubt, boats that will either be liked or disliked with no room for compromise. We have already produced eight identical boats on the lines of the 46 metre, this has allowed us to reach unusual levels of production "standardisation" for this segment, but tells us above all that the idea was good and has given us the courage to approach the future with the same philosophy that got us here.

So you wish to distinguish yourselves...

We are working on very new boats, boats that can immediately be recognized as being ISA made, that ignore normal standards, we have been fairly good at this so far. Our strength lies in having a young yard, the average age of our management is around the 40 mark. So far we have always managed to deliver on time despite the choice of finish and materials has some times caused us some delay. We are trying to become Swiss in Italy and I suspect we'll succeed as we have done until now. We have had our moments of difficulty of which the yard was not directly responsible because we have proven we are able to build unique boats on a constant basis.

What will be ISA's production rate in the future?

We would like to build two 60-66 metre boats, four 120' in GRP and one or two 140 footers per year, that is the rate we would like to maintain. We are already getting organized with a 5000 sq.m. hangar with a 17 metre clearance above ground which we'll call Giant. We will then construct an identical hanger but with a 24 metre clearance, furthermore we are in the process of building quays throughout the yard. We wish to become like a motorway service station on the Adriatic coast, offering services, lifting boats out for antifouling , large size travel lifts, and winter facilities at affordable prices.

We could accommodate approximately 15 boats of up to 90 metres in length putting them in and out of the water, all this maintaining our production rate constant which would allow us to preserve high quality standards with no compromises. We must fall in line with the standards required by the Surveyors, where suppliers enjoy a well renowned reputation one must go with the market. Thus only tried and well known equipment is to be used. No risks. We prefer safe betting and aim to work only with top materials for perfect boats all round, reliable boats. Let us take electronics as an example, there is no use in choosing the latest of everything because then you won't find reliable after sales assistance. I want everything to work perfectly all of the time and that it be easy to use for both user and service company, quality boats that must always be enjoyable to use. I am fortunate to have a very direct rapport with my clients, I think like them because I well know what they want and what they think of what they've got, I live the boat experience with them. I often spend my holidays on board our boats, this gives me the opportunity of understanding the owner's needs and those of his guests, what should be avoided and what needs emphasizing. Our 120 can cruise at 36 knots but without compromising comfort thanks to the keel purposely studied so as to always guarantee that cruising should always remain a pleasure, this is what a mature owner wants. This "hands on" approach with my clients gives me the possibility to glean their needs at all times and my partners let me have my say at the yard because they know the importance of client satisfaction and that of having an eye for detail.

We have also learned of yet another hanger...

Yes, we'll be building that one to work the GRP and it will develop over 6000 sq.m. between covered areas and forecourts, this is because we're convinced that having adequate space eases production and makes quality. We have recently hosted a SIBAS meeting and we were flattered by their congratulations over our production areas, coming from them this really was a plus.

At this point your confidence seems to stand high...

We are well aware of being strong and capable enough to build a 70 metre on our own, today we can do it but despite this, we also take the necessary time to offer our clients those services others seem to forget. Let me give you an example. In my view, and I am not alone in this, the customer is the true asset of any company, this is why I chose at one point to stop sales in order to await for company matters to stabilize. I made up for it by 'filling' the yard with three of our own 47 metres to carry out general updating and safety work. Our ways of doing business has worked so far and we therefore aim to continue down the same route. One should consider we have clients with whom we started in 2001 with whom we are discussing projects for their third boat. We're very proud of that.

Given your ambitious goals do you think it necessary to create a different sales network?

In as far as the GRP boats are concerned, given the fact that six will be ready each year, I would like to expand the horizons and that's why we'll have a sales network by June which I am already organising. But all this falls within predefined development plans that we are carrying out, one should consider that today we have 45.000 sq.m. of yard space to dispose of which puts us amongst the first three or four companies in the whole Ancona region, this has been achieved in just five years. Our objective is to be part of a group of well nurtured yards with a variety of boats to offer, then enter the stock market and just... carry on!

For further information: ISA International Shipyard Ancona; via Mattei, 14; 60125 Ancona; tel. 0039 071 502191; fax 0039 071 50219210; sito web; e-mail

International Shipyards Ancona