In a get-up-from-the-mat comeback that would make Rocky Balboa proud, Australia’s Riviera Yachts announced April 9th that it would survive in tact, pay off its creditors, and hire more staff. In our 41 years in the boating business we have never seen such a dramatic and impressive turnaround by a boat builder that just 11 months ago was on the brink of bankruptcy. The reason for this incredible resurrection is the fact that Riviera has sold over 100 new boats in the last 11 months – something unequalled by any of the world’s other major convertible boat builders. And behind that remarkable sales feat is Riviera’s CEO, John Anderson, a 24-year veteran of the boating industry who has seen it all. He is a man who we have watched at boat company after boat company plan his work, then work his plan – successfully.
Riviera employees celebrate the good news that Australia’s largest boat builder will not be sold, but instead is earning its way out of receivership. They are on the bow of the company’s new 70’ enclosed flybridge convertible.
Riviera Yachts CEO John Anderson has pulled off one of the biggest turn-arounds in recreational marine history.
Riviera CEO John Anderson has a 24-year career in the boating industry, beginning in the US with Sea Ray as sport yacht sales coordinator. He rose to become Vice-President of Sales and Senior Vice-President of marketing at Sea Ray, which at the time was the largest builder of fiberglass boats in the world. John was in this position during the mid and late 1980s when a rising tide raised many boat brands, but Sea Ray rose the highest.
In 1997, he was appointed President of the Four Winns boat building company. After a take-over by marine industry giant Genmar in 2000, John more than doubled Four Winns’ revenues and boosted production to more than 7,000 boats over the next five years. He resigned in 2006. In January 2007, John came to Australia and, in March, joined Riviera as Director of Operations, becoming the company's Chief Executive Officer in August 2008, just one month before the financial world started melting down.
That Anderson was able to keep Riviera together in the worst recession since the Great Depression is a testament to his long marine experience, business savvy, and the dedicated Riviera management team. Through it all, Riviera continued to build boats and to introduce new models, including its 5000 sport yacht and its latest new model, the 43 open flybridge with IPS which is coming out next month in Australia.
Riviera’s sales organization reaches most major recreational boating areas in the world.
Historically Riviera has been best known for its convertibles and express fishboats, but it seems clear that the company has plans to expand beyond those categories into more sport yachts and into large motoryachts. Given Riviera’s latest sales success we would say that there is message here.
Riviera’s massive production plants spreads over 30 acres (14 hectares) in Coomera, Queensland, and is one of the largest in the world.
Brief Company History
Founded in 1980, Riviera is the largest boat building company in Australia and a major player in the global marine industry. Today, the company builds luxury boats from 33 to 70 feet across four lines: Open and Enclosed Flybridge, Sport Yachts and Offshore Express models.
The company exports about 50 per cent of its annual production to a dealer network that now spans more than 30 countries and every continent in the world.
Reprint from Riviera Press Release, April 9, 2010--
Riviera Officially Withdrawn From Sale
Australia’s largest and most awarded pleasure boat builder, Riviera has today announced that the company’s bankers have officially closed the sale process of the business.
Over the past six months a number of domestic and international parties have been in discussions with the Receivers and Managers regarding the possible purchase of Riviera. After extensive consideration, the secured debt holders have elected to formerly withdraw the business from the sale process electing over the medium term to continue to rebuild the business.
“Over the last eleven months our bankers have been impressed with our performance despite the prevailing market conditions and the positive gains made as a direct result of the restructuring process” commented Riviera Chief Executive Officer, John Anderson.
“Our focus is now firmly to build the business and make it even stronger. The value that has been created in the business over the last eleven months has clearly given our backers the confidence that as the market continues to return, so too will our sales and profitability.
“We are tracking ahead of our business plan and sales are certainly above all of our expectations. In the last eleven months over 100 new Rivieras have been sold by our global dealer network giving a weekly sales rate of two-and-a-half new boats per week. In total retail value, this represents over (AUD) $102 million is sales.
“For the first quarter of this calendar year, we have achieved a 35% growth in sales over the same period last year. What is really pleasing is that we are receiving contracts and deposits from our dealers in the America’s and Europe, indicating that a global recovery is slowly on its way.
“We have also signed several new international dealers this calendar year in both the US and Europe which is a very encouraging sign for us as the global boating industry sees us as a force that is on the return with a clearly segmented and strategically growing model line-up.
“Right now we have 350 people on site building boats at our Coomera, Gold Coast facility and we are actively recruiting new staff as we slowly ramp-up production to meet the growing global demand.
“Our new model development plan has a five year vision with multiple new model releases planned for each year. For 2010, the first of these new models, a 43 Open Flybridge with IPS will have its world premiere at Sanctuary Cove in May.
“Part of the process of re-building the business is creating a business platform that will allow us to take Riviera out receivership. Before this can be affected, we need to complete the Deed of Company Arrangement which will see Riviera come out of Administration as soon as all the former staff is paid their entitlements and funds are paid to a deed fund for distribution to creditors. This is now well progressed.
“With real increases in sales volume, new model releases underway, a growing workforce and expanding international dealer network, the future for Riviera looks very exciting indeed. Added to these indicators, the public commitment of support by our backers over the medium term further enhances our abilities to maximize the return to confidence in the luxury boating market.”