At a news conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil last week it was announced that Italy's Azimut-Benetti Group will begin building boats in Santa Catarina, Brazil as of next month. Brazil has an extremely high import duty on new yachts making it disadvantageous to import new boats into the country. By building in Brazil Azimut will not only make is boats available in the fastest growing large economy in South America, it will also be in a good strategic position to export to other markets in the Western Hemisphere, and beyond.
The Azimut 43 Fly-bridge will also be built in Brazil and should be ready in the summer of 2011.
Reprinted from IBI Magazine/Fernanda Velloso --
Azimut-Benetti, builder of Atlantis, Azimut and Benetti yachts from 9m-70m (30ft-230ft), recently founded Azimut do Brasil Yachts LTDA, the company that will manage production of Azimut-branded yachts at a 20,000sq m site in Itajaí, Santa Catarina.
The first yachts to be built inside the 10,000sq m facility will be flybridge versions of the Azimut 43 and Azimut 58. Both will be ready for the summer of 2011.
Azimut-Benetti is well known on the Brazilian market, thanks to a previous partnership with Brazilian boatbuilder Intermarine. As of April last year, Azimut yachts have been imported into the country by Yacht Brasil, a dealer with 18 sales outlets and eight dedicated service points throughout the country.
Azimut-Benetti says that its goal for this year is to produce 100 boats from 12m-30m (40ft-100ft) in six different models. Led by chairman Paolo Vitelli, the company will invest some €80m over five years. In 2009, Azimut-Benetti generated sales of around €650m and is now present in 67 countries.
In its first year of operation, the boatbuilder will focus on the manufacture of six units. Only the hulls of these first boats will be produced in Brazil; the remaining parts will be imported from Italy.
The factory will begin operations with 50 staff members, although the number is expected to eventually rise to 1,000 due to strong demand on both the domestic and export markets.