Azzura Marine Nowra in voluntary receivership

A combination of the rising Australian dollar and the effect of the global economic downturn on the luxury yacht building industry has resulted in Azzura Marine Nowra Pty Ltd going into voluntary liquidation. More than 70 people are employed at the factory on the NSW south coast.

The parent company, Azzura Marine, is currently assessing options in relation to Azzura Marine Gold Coast Pty Ltd and Azzura Marine Newcastle Pty Ltd “to evaluate the best outcome for our stakeholders” according to a media statement. This review apparently includes options for the successful completion of current projects.

Renowned Olympic and America's Cup yachtsman, Iain Murray, invested heavily in Azzura Marine several years ago, to keep the company operating. It's believed that Iain has decided that at current sales levels, it does not make economic sense to pour further capital into the venture.

At this stage it's not known how the decision will impact on Sydney Yachts, which is part of the group. The Sydney 38 has been one of the most successful one-design keelboats ever sold. In the event that the whole company goes into liquidation, the moulds for all the yachts are likely to be sold by the liquidators to the highest bidder,

A statement has been received which reads:

In line with the world's luxury boat industry, we have been significantly impacted by the economic crisis. We have experienced a decrease in demand for yachts over the last six to 12 months, and we simply do not have the financial resources to maintain three ship building facilities.

Azzura Marine Nowra is sub-contracted to build the internationally acclaimed all-carbon performance cruising yacht brand, Marten Yachts. In 2008 the brand celebrated its most successful year to date, with five Marten 49s and two Marten 67s sold. In contrast, 2009 has produced zero new build contracts. Currently one Marten 67 (hull #2) is under construction while Marten 49 (hull #15) was launched last week.

Over the past five years Azzura Marine's shareholders have pursued an aggressive expansion strategy and have significantly invested in the development of equipment and facilities to deliver world class yachts in addition to a range of quality marine services including; in-house design, innovative refit and repair solutions, customised interior fit out and furniture craftsmanship, a comprehensive brokerage division and specialised customer service centres.

Internationally recognised for the construction of premium quality yachts, the group has built in excess of 200 vessels across its three Australia-based facilities. The company was established by combining decades of boat building experience, world class facilities and state-of-the-art equipment with the unrivalled skills, passion and experience of its team to produce three of the world's most prestigious nautical brands; Azzura Yachts, Marten Yachts and SRC Yachts (formerly Sydney Yachts).

Other high profile builders affected by the global downturn have included Australian yacht builders Riviera and Warren Yachts, in addition to a string of international builders.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (David John Frank Lombe and Simon John Cathro) has been appointed liquidators of Azzura Marine Nowra Pty Ltd.

– Roger McMillan

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