The parent companies of Azimut and Sea Ray have mutually agreed to dissolve their strategic alliance

After almost three years of distributing Azimut flybridge cruisers and yachts in the US and Canada, the parent companies of Azimut and Sea Ray have mutually agreed to dissolve their strategic alliance.

The distribution agreement between Brunswick’s Sea Ray and Azimut, which was signed at the 1998 Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, is claimed to have dramatically increased Azimut imports to the US. Sea Ray claims that under its direction, Azimut captured the number one US market share position among import models 39-100ft in the year 2000.

In a joint statement released today both companies claim that following the alliance, Brunswick and Azimut-Benetti decided to embark on strategies favouring acquisitions over alliances. Last year the Azimut-Benetti group purchased Lusben Craft in Viareggio and recently announced the acquisition of Gobbi, one of Italy’s largest boatbuilders. In July Brunswick purchased UK power cruiser builder Sealine. Both parties say they wish to continue on the acquisition trail without encumbrances.

“Our shift in strategic direction, along with a change in market conditions, are the primary reasons for us deciding to not renew this agreement,” said Barry Slade, director of Azimut-USA.

“Our relationship with Sea Ray, and the Azimut dealers in the US has been very positive,” said Paolo Vitelli, chairman of the Azimut-Benetti Group. “We have gained a tremendous market advantage through our association with them.” Sea Ray is credited with ‘Americanising’ the Azimut product by incorporating layouts and equipment familiar to US boaters.

Azimut says it is planning to open an office in Miami or Ft Lauderdale to provide those services previously managed by Sea Ray’s Azimut-USA staff, including sales and service administration, parts distribution and technical support.