The Riviera Group expects growth in U.S.

GOLD COAST, Australia – Luxury yacht builder The Riviera Group expects another record year in 2004, based largely on its expansion into the United States, according to The Courier-Mail, a publication of Queensland Newspapers.

According to the article published today, the builder showed a 17-percent increase in its earnings for a record AUD$27 million in 2003. The company is expecting to build on the strong sales for an even better year in 2004. The Riviera Group’s revenue rose 29 percent to AUD$180 million for the full year, and showed an increase in boats sold from 350 last year to 406 in 2003, according to the article.

“The growth has come from the strength of our brand around the world,” Riviera chief executive officer Wes Moxey told The Courier-Mail. “We have also started a retail focus and opened some offices in Australia to keep that up. We have a dealer network overseas working in three distribution hubs.”

Moxey continued that the U.S. “had emerged as Riviera’s export strength because of its population base.”

According to the article, about 55 percent of the company’s yachts were sold abroad last year.

“Australia has a population of only 20 million. It’s a limited market here,” Moxey told The Courier-Mail. “In the U.S., there’s 180 million people. It’s a lot bigger market with more potential and there is where our focus on growth is going to be.”

The privately held Rivieria publicly announced its financial status for the first time yesterday, according to the article, which speculated that the company might go public in the near future.

The Riviera Group was purchased in October of 2002 for AUD$180 million in a management buy out involving 25 existing long-term Riviera employees and Australian private equity lender Gresham Private Equity, according to the company.

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