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Mohamad Z. Chehab

Owner & General Manager, Chehab Marine

Roger Daou

General Manager, Yacht Vision

How did you get to where you are today? L’EMIR MOHAMAD Z. CHEHAB I started this business 22 years ago, presenting both Cranchi boats from Italy and then Princess Yachts […]

How did you get to where you are today?

L’EMIR MOHAMAD Z. CHEHAB I started this business 22 years ago, presenting both Cranchi boats from Italy and then Princess Yachts from the UK. We started in Lebanon selling quite a few boats, and in around 2009 we were approached by representatives from the Princess factory to represent it in the Middle East. We have opened subsidiaries and distributors in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and we are currently in discussions to appoint a distributor in Kuwait. We want to continue expanding in the region.

ROGER DAOU I started with the Prestige brand, which is one of the top brands in France. The first year was a boom year for me, with sales of seven to eight boats a year, and the people from Prestige were impressed by a small country producing such sales in its first year. They were proud of us and the Lebanese market, and we were proud of what we were doing. A year later, I received the dealership of Absolute, which is again one of the best Italian shipyards. In the second and third year, we acquired Ranieri and some other sports boats brands. In 2013, I became the dealer for Chris-Craft Boats, because the market demanded something luxurious and it is one of the best small boats in the world; it is like a Rolls-Royce and I took the three boats and sold them all. The boats range from 14 to 16 meters in length.

How do you try to reach out to high-net-worth (HNW) individuals, and what strategies do you use to keep sales moving?

LMZC It is all about networking and public relations mainly. Of course, we exhibit at boat shows in the region. We go to the Kuwait Boat Show, the Dubai Boat Show, the Qatar Boat Show, and the Beirut Boat Show, and they affect business quite a lot; however, the main way is through networking, the internet, and connections.

Is it part of your strategy to expand your portfolio of brands as much as possible to reach as many potential customers as possible?

RD Exactly. We are trying to expand Yacht Vision across the MENA region. Our next projects are for Qatar and Dubai over the summer/winter 2014-2015. We already have offices in Qatar, and we have an office in Kuwait; however, we do not have a special crew in Kuwait at the moment. Still, we are training sales staff and technicians for the Kuwait and Qatar offices at the moment, and we hope to have them open by the end of summer 2014. In 2015, we will have boats on show at the Qatar Boat Show, and hopefully in Dubai as well. Prestige is our best seller. The largest demand for boats in Lebanon is for boats between 12 and 16 meters in length, and Prestige and Absolute have both of these sizes. There are some people who prefer Italian styles, designs, and brands, while others prefer classic styles, such as the shape of the Prestige; however, for me, both brands are similar, both are excellent, and they only require a little maintenance every year, which is normal for yachting.

Are there any trends that the Lebanese are embracing?

LMZC There is no limit; they have the means to buy mega yachts even. Of the 100 largest yachts in the world, at least six are owned by Lebanese nationals, meaning you have some big names. Hence, there is no limit on size. Coming back to the question, though, the most common yachts sold are mainly between the range 15 and 25 meters, which is about 60% of the market. The average price is between £500,000 and £4 million.

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