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Luxury yacht business booms despite woes
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09:23, January 29, 2008

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Billionaires splashing out on luxury yachts means the market for high-end ships continues to grow despite economic woes, Dutch maritime engineering firm Imtech said yesterday.

Imtech said it recently won orders worth 96 million euros ($141 million) from owners and shipyards in the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

"There's no impact whatsoever,all the shipyards are full" Imtech spokesman Pieter Koenders said. "On the contrary, there's enormous demand."

The number of wealthy individuals is rapidly rising across the globe, with the total pool of wealth - defined as investible assets of at least $1 million held by an individual - standing at $37.2 trillion at the end of 2006.

Soaring commodity prices and the widening gap between rich and poor in emerging economies are creating ever more millionaires, typically big spenders on luxury items such as vintage yachts, art, cars and jewelry.

"There are more and more billionaires, and every billionaire has one or two luxury yachts," Koenders said. "It's a very attractive market."

Imtech said it will supply energy-efficient drives as well as navigation and communication systems for a refit of an old Dutch navy frigate being converted into a 141-meter luxury yacht after being sold to the United Arab Emirates.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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