BY Anna Cummins on 4 Apr 2023

The Saudi PIF fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world

Giovanna Vitelli

Giovanna Vitelli, chair of Azimut Benetti Group

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has become a minority shareholder in Italian luxury yacht group Azimut Benetti, after buying a 33 per cent share of the company.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Saudi PIF fund — the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, one of the largest in the world — says PIF joins the group “with the prospect of long-term investment to support the company’s next phase of growth, guided by the strategic vision of the Vitelli family, which retains the majority stake.”

Giovanna Vitelli, chair of Azimut Benetti Group, adds: “I confirm the satisfaction and pride of the family for having earned — as the most important megayacht building group in the world — the trust of one of the largest global sovereign wealth funds, already present in luxury, technology and leisure.

“PIF will accompany Azimut Benetti Group in the long term, offering strategic and important new business opportunities, including the Middle East, a geographic area which is undergoing strong development. The family, together with its trusted management, maintains a large majority of the group and its strategic direction.”

The transaction will be completed pending antitrust and regulatory clearances. Italy-based TIP (Tamburi Investment Partner), which has been a partner of Azimut Benetti for over eight years, will remain in the group’s share capital with a reduced stake.

Benetti's 108-metre FB275. Saudi PIF fund

Benetti’s 108-metre FB275

Last year, Azimut-Benetti Group CEO Marco Valle confirmed Benetti is embarking on a period of ‘important milestones’, during a conference held during the thirty-first Monaco Yacht Show in Monte Carlo. The builder a plans record-breaking 23 launches this year.