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The refit of Audace completed at Lusben

Q&A with Giorgio Casareto: Lusben’s new manager shares his multi-million growth plan

24 March 2023 • Written by Laura Nicholls for Lusben

At the tail end of 2022, the renowned Italian refit and repair shipyard Lusben announced it was to roll out a major plan to rejuvenate the company. It would take three years for all of the improvements to be made and first on the agenda was expanding the yard’s Livorno site to include the purchased neighbouring dock area. Next, was to restructure its corporate management team – cue Giorgio Casareto.

As Lusben’s newly appointed general manager, Casareto has an overarching view of the investments being made to the Azimut|Benetti Group’s refit division. His main focus is to grow the company in the coming years.

Giorgio Casareto

To find out more about his role and Lusben’s future, we ask Casareto some quick-fire questions.

Congratulations on your new position. Why are you the man for the job?

In this role, I am able to draw on my long, and still growing, career in the industry. It all started in 1994 when I joined the Azimut|Benetti Group after many years of working in the shipyards of Genoa, Italy. Here I worked on everything from developing projects to after-sales and commercial activities. I also set up Azimut’s Savona site and eventually managed its Avigliana site.

Then, I became director of the Marina di Varazze port and became involved in Lusben and its activities in the area. So my current role as general manager and looking after all three of Lusben’s sites was a natural move.

The refit of Masquenada was completed by Lusben in record time in 2021

Can you tell us more about “the new Lusben” and what new services will be on offer to clients?

In response to the increasing size of yachts and rising demand for our work, 2023 is set to be a year of major developments and changes for the yard. Fundamentally, we are boosting the yard’s ability to provide top-of-the-range services to customers.

Lusben will receive new equipment and advanced technology, and offer a diverse and comprehensive range of services that can be tailored according to customers’ needs. The site of Livorno will have a huge new floating dock for megayachts and infrastructure for any large sailing yacht. In total, there will be an additional 120.000 square metres of new dry dock area, a 180-metre-long floating dock with a capacity of 18,000 tonnes for another 10 dry berths and 12 in-water moorings.

At the Varazze site, we are equipped with everything needed for heritage yachts, as well as a 400-tonne travel lift, 15 dry berths and 12 in-water moorings in the technical marina. There will also be new accommodation, storage, offices and new areas for the crews.

Down the coast, Lusben’s Viareggio yard has a 600-tonne travel lift and paint booth for 50-metre boats, a 30,000-square-metre marina, 34 yacht berths, a helideck and accommodation. Both the Livorno and Viareggio will be ready to face any extensive and complex engineered refits with our naval architect partners. Once complete, the works will consolidate Lusben’s position as a leader in the international yacht refit and repair industry.

Credit: Raphael Montigneaux
Maltese Falcon undergoing refit work at Lusben

How much has been invested into Lusben? Is this figure likely to increase?

The redevelopment work of the Livorno that currently underway comes to a total of €12 million. We are also planning an ambitious redevelopment of the Varazze site, which is currently standing at about €7 million. As we’ve shared, these investments include everything from human capital to expanded services.

Will more workers be employed? If so, how many and when?

Depending on the projects and business volume, we can work with subcontractors or stick to our internal workforce of 50 people. When we are working at full capacity, we can have up to 700 people working across our three sites at the same time.

Why is 2023 the right time to expand the yard?

The growth rate in the demand for new ships spiked in the past few years, and they will all need refurbishing, upgrading or maintenance at some point! We want to be ready to face this new opportunity. Prior to this investment plan, our sweet spot was yachts up to 60 metres, but soon we will be capable of servicing any type of vessel. In my opinion, 2023 is truly the right time.

What is in Lusben’s current order book?

We have a current order book signed for €36 million. Now, we have two boats over 80 metres, and this steady increase in large, complex orders won by Lusben in recent years has resulted in the need to expand the Varazze and Livorno operating sites.

One notable yacht we are working on at the moment is the iconic 88-metre Maltese Falcon, who is undergoing a full-scale refit. The biggest challenge, but also the most exciting part of this job, has been for us to deeply understand and fully grab the original vision of her original owner, Tom Perkins, and match it with the new owner’s modern concept. We are ambitious and shaping the future for Lusben means also sustainable technology. Maltese Falcon will soon feature new gensets, [a] Tier III compliant selective catalytic reduction system and main engine silencers.

Read More/Maltese Falcon: Inside the refit of a yachting icon

How will the “new” Lusben stand out from the competition?

Not only will we be able to handle any kind of vessel, but a key part of our service is offering clear and transparent commercial proposals and contracts. Moreover, our flexible logistics and diversified services benefit our clients at all three sites. We have also been certified in the quality of our subcontractors, business partners and integrated customer care assistance. All of this and so much more is what will undeniably add value to our client’s refit experience.

To find out more about Lusben and how they can refit, repair or care for your yacht, contact the team directly here.

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