Italian shipyard sold after five failed auctions

After filing for bankruptcy, criminal proceedings and five failed auctions, the Italian shipyard has been sold…

The embattled Privilege Yard in Italy, which encompasses some 12 hectares near the Port of Civitavecchia, has finally been sold for just over €6 million after five auction attempts failed to find a suitable buyer.

In 2015, the shipyard filed for bankruptcy and the then-ongoing production of 127-metre (417-foot) superyacht Project One ceased suddenly. At the time it was believed that the yard was merely a vehicle for the unlawful pooling of funds gathered from a number of banks – funds which were then reportedly distributed to senior parties at the yard.

The construction of Project One started in 2008 and it was designed by Abdeslam Laraki

August 2016 saw the house arrest of Privilege Yard’s chief executive officer Mario La Via and Antonio Baptist, the yard’s only board member, by the public prosecutor of Civitavecchia pending charges. The pair faced charges relating to fraudulent bankruptcy, a falsified balance sheet, tax crimes and the contravention of anti-mafia legislation. Supposed beneficiaries of the funds at the time included a former Vatican secretary of state, a former Italian MP and the then-current president of Civitavecchia’s Port Authority.

Ezio Vannucci, partner at Moores Rowland Partners, said that no bids were submitted at any of the five auctions which met the initial appraisal value of €95 million (including all facilities and in-build projects). In the end, the yard and its related assets were sold without the yacht under construction for the significantly reduced sum of €6,106,000. Malta-based firm Royalton Investment Holding, via local subsidiary Konig srl, has been confirmed as the buyer.

Royalton’s superyacht interests are focused around a Greek operation named SSH Maritime, which has offices in Athens, London, Beirut and Miami. Royalton has a number of 70-metre-plus yachts in its fleet, and, through another entity in the organisation named Marine Goddess srl, has separately acquired the mothballed Project One hull.