There are many in Russia who are struggling to make ends meet or even to put food on the table as the ruble falls to rubble. Few of them even take time to consider the difficulties faced by those in the yacht industry. Owners of yacht companies are seeing the potential of a bright future amid a global financial recovery darken as Russia’s billionaires put off buying new yachts until next year.
The European yacht industry depends on the ostentatious and conspicuous consumption of Russia’s richest, who have a thing for yachts unsurpassed by tycoons in other countries. Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea football club, made headlines when he moved his yacht, the Eclipse, last fall. The big boat is worth more than $1 billion.
Sales of yachts declined during the financial crisis, but seemed on the way back and were rising steadily. 2015 was projected to be a very good year for yachts, until the ruble collapsed. Peter Lurssen, CEO of Lurssen Yachts, told CNBC, “Someone who is ruble based suddenly has to pay twice as much for a yacht, clearly that must have an impact. Then the overall economic situation in Eastern Europe is very difficult and possibly degrading. So far, we have seen on impact on our business, but I can see it will get more complicated and more difficult in 2015.”
Speaking of degrading, Russians have been reduced to purchasing second-hand yachts, as the number of these orders has grown. The yacht industry is not likely to tank along with the ruble, as there are increasing orders from the U.S.