Riviera has ended 2008 with strong sales across the world, from Italy and Spain, the United States, the Middle East, Pacific and at home in Australia over the past two weeks.
In a challenging market for the entire leisure boating industry worldwide, the group has achieved sales of 126 boats since July 1 with further strong expectation as a result of the Phuket and Hong Kong Boat Shows.
The Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht, Australian Boat of the Year in 2008, leads the popular models that continue to attract strong sales around the world.
CEO John Anderson says: “In a year that saw significant challenges for the entire boating industry, Riviera and R Marine performed well. I believe it demonstrated that, during these times in particular, there is a flight to quality and the Riviera brand represents that high water mark.
“Throughout 2008 we outperformed all our competitors at major boat shows, beginning at Miami in February. Numbers were down on previous years. However, our new models have caught the imagination of boaters in Australia, the United States, Asia and Europe."
The highlight of the year was the launch of the new flagship Riviera 70 Enclosed Flybridge at the Sydney International Boat Show. Five of these magnificent $5 million craft were ordered before the first was launched.
The company also saw strong orders for our 43 Offshore Express with Volvo Penta IPS propulsion. And when we unveiled the designs for the revolutionary new four-cabin 5800 Sport Yacht to be launched at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in May 2009, they immediately generated orders for eight boats. Current orders stretch well into 2010 for this ground-breaking new model.
Riviera continued development of new markets through the year and, in November, delivered our first boat to a client in India. Riviera customer care staff were on hand in Chennai to hand over a 48 Offshore Express to the new owner.
In early December the company completed a strategic and operational review addressing the impact of slowing demand in the current economic climate and providing a more stable platform for growth.
The review involved a number of appointments to the senior executive team, strengthening of the company’s banking facilities and an injection of new equity from its institutional investors which include Ironbridge and Gresham Private Equity.
Executive changes include the appointment of Ly-Eng Ea as Chief Financial Officer and Les Galbraith as Managing Director of the company’s Australasian retail organisation, R Marine. Les takes over from founding Managing Director Tim Sayer who has been promoted to the new position of Director of Global Sales and Marketing. Michael Burke has been promoted to Director of Operations. Ly-Eng joins Riviera from Siemens in Singapore where she has held a similar role since 1994 while Les Galbraith was previously with the Stella Group.
John Anderson said the financing arrangements, which included a new three-year debt facility, provided the management team with greater flexibility as it responded to the challenges in global markets.