What is your background? Where do you come from? What made you get into the yacht industry? How long have you been in Mallorca or did you grow up here?
I was born and grew up in Mallorca, and during my student years I went to Barcelona, where I studied my career as a merchant marine. Then I went out sailing and my first jobs were also in Barcelona, until I went to Alicante and finally I returned to settle in Mallorca in 2000.
My environment has made me dedicate myself professionally to this world, trying to learn new technologies and evolve, as well as the market evolved.
I entered this sector in 1992, and since 1993 I dedicated myself to the creation of port facilities, then I was port captain in Alicante and I returned to settle here, with Marina Port de Mallorca and the IPM Group where I have been involved in the management and construction of the shipyards and marinas that we have in the group.
Do you sail yourself? What is your favourite thing about boats?
Yes, I like to sail, I have my own boat. I like to sail with motor boats and sailing boats and I like to go fishing.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years I look myself older, but with more experience. I think the experience is gaining, learning, living daily, and we are in a world where everything is now very fast. I hope to have more health and more experience. Age for me is experience.
When did it all start? The order they all came on stream…
It all started in 1999, with Marina Port de Mallorca. It was built during the year 2000 and by April of 2001 was inaugurated. From here, IPM Group has been growing with the rest of the companies such as Varadero Palma, Varadero Ibiza, STP Shipyard Palma, Varadero Valencia, Marina Ibiza and Marina Palma Cuarentena.
Biggest challenges to date, are they local or national issues? e.g Government policies
The challenge is to know how to maintain integrity at work, in the seriousness and in the complexity that companies have. The challenge is always to maintain the quality and standardise the way of working, the criteria of doing things. The challenge is to maintain the day to day with the spirit of always following the level towards the clients, to remain competitive, to have a good team with vocation of customer service and specialised professionals in each of the management areas of our facilities. This is the complexity: take business, raise them with a vision of the future and be able to adapt, and adapt to the perspectives to what the market is asking.
What do you think of the government’s decision to ban any new marinas in the Balearics for 15 years?
I think what we should do is have sustainable growth. The prohibitions are not good at all. There should be no excessive growth of moorings, although there must be a demand to settle. For this you can make improvements or optimisations of water mirrors, creations of dry marinas and deep down, I am not in favour of not growing, but I am in favour of growing in a sustainable way and according to a demand and studies that really support that criterion.
Will this make you look elsewhere as you have with Valencia?
The fact of not being able to do more marinas is not a condition to have to look for new destinations. They are different things, and markets today are open markets. The key is to look for other business units that can be very complementary to everything we do and our spirit, which is to continue providing service as far as we can arrive with what we have in the Balearic Islands.
Is the relationship between the marinas you have a vital link/ready supply of yachts to the shipyards you run?
Having several marinas and shipyards creates a synergy for the yachts. Having created unified criteria and ways of working, standards of quality and service make each client know that our group and our facilities comply with minimums that allow them to go from one side to the other receiving the same treatment, service and attention. It’s good to have that synergy.
You have the 1000 ton Travel Lift in STP, the largest in Europe, can you see a time when we have a Synchro Lift in Palma or elsewhere in your network?
There are Mallorcan companies planning to set up a synchro lift with the aim of covering the segment of vessels larger than 1,000 tons to offer maintenance and repair services to this other type of vessel. Since we are in a mature technical industry market, very competitive at a European level, what is needed is to have work segments greater than 1,000 tons. Currently these large yacht lengths are being serviced, and there are future projects that are pending management so that there can be a synchro lift and serve this segment of lengths.
You seem to emphasise your “ green policies”, which is great, is there more that should be done worldwide in Marinas? How is the Seabin working? Do you have them in every marina?
From the beginning we have emphasised with environmental measures because it is one of our business pillars. We must work to have a friendly environment and ecologically we must take care of it. Because of this, we support all environmental initiatives. This year in particular we started with a plastic free campaign to raise awareness among our clients, but we do not just look at what happens at sea, we look first at what happens in our companies with recycling, and we work hard on raising awareness in all sectors where we can arrive, mainly the nautical sector.
Regarding the Seabin, we are very happy. Currently we have it in Marina Port de Mallorca and it is planned to put it in other facilities of the Group.
There is a large difference in berthing costs between the Balearics and the mainland, for example Valencia. What is the main reason for this huge difference?
The main reason why everything is more expensive in the Balearic Islands is because everything has to come from outside, it is a different market and the difference is that we are limited by the space we have. The increase in moorings is due to the fact that the space or port, maritime domain, is scarce. Another reason is that having a small amount makes the price rise. The renovation of infrastructures is also more expensive and this has an impact. The prohibitions also make things more expensive, if there were more moorings, prices would fall, it is the law of supply and demand, and since there is not a great deal of supply, it is the market that sets the prices that can be maintained. Otherwise the economic-financial balance of the companies that work in this sector would live in imbalance and that is not the aim.
How do you see your business developing over the next 10 years?
I believe that the nautical business will continue to increase annually in a gradual way. Growing in a way that is not rough. It is growing positive, both by number of boats, companies, professionals, and workers for the general economy is important.
Are Superyachts your main future?
We cover an entire sector receiving all types of boats, from small lengths up to 90 meters.
How have the demands from Superyachts changed in recent years?
Thanks to Balearic Islands are fashionable in the West Med, and thanks also to certain improvements in administrative policies and taxes, we have achieved that with the promotion of the Balearic Islands as a destination, is attractive for this type of boats. Not only because of what we offer as a nautical destination for repairs or moorings, but also the Balearic Islands represent a good place for these boats to find good waters, good restaurants, good communications, etc … all this is the culture that makes the superyachts Look at our archipelago.
Are you having to upgrade your infrastructure to meet their demands?
In terms of infrastructures, we have improved a lot with regard to the Balearic Islands Port Authority, which is with whom it has been possible to renovate facilities, enlarge space for repairs, new marinas projects, and this is making them adapt all those facilities modernizing and adapting to that type of boat to give that service. But all this is done within the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands. In addition, there is currently a large number of companies dedicated to offering the services that this type of ships demand. We are evolving in our number of professionals to supply and offer our services for these boats.
Many people within the Superyacht Industry are English speaking, Australian, S. African, New Zealand etc, are you seeing more local Spanish people getting involved or not?
Yes, we have been updating for a long time and we are learning, we are almost mixed. This Anglo-Saxon-speaking sector has been in the market for years. Spanish companies are including Anglo-Saxon people and we have been learning from them. Dual training also includes English, the university teaches this language, we have been growing with this training for years, seeing that it is a sector where there is a lot of work capacity and a lot of future.
How can we, as an industry get more locals involved?
The work of the industry goes through a communication issue. We must remove the tagline that nautical is for the rich, and show that it is a market in which the whole community benefits. The figures indicate that for each direct work 6 indirect works are generated, and this in the end is good for everyone. You have to think that a large yacht is like a small and medium-sized company, and in the SMEs, ordinary people work. Then a communication is needed to raise awareness and make people understand that this industry is as good as other industrial sectors, or tourism sectors. Because we, the good thing that we have either by marinas or by shipyards, is that we have generating activity of work and distribution of wealth throughout the year equally, it is not seasonal. While in the summer the marinas are full with tourism, in winter we have repair and maintenance centers at full capacity. The locals must understand that all the people who work in the nautical sector are ordinary people. It is true that the owner of the 50 meter yacht has great wealth, but all the others below are ordinary people who are working. And all these people buy, sell, live, eat, enjoy the services offered in the city. And that economy is what really gives us wealth. And when it comes to people and understand that a yacht is not only for the wealthy, and thanks to the work of all those below the owner they buy the bread, invest their savings in making a house, etc, it does not stay on board the yacht, but it is distributed to all sectors and that is where the locals still can not see. This industry generates work, employment and money.
Many thanks Patrick, we wish you well for the future, you certainly seem to have a perfectly balanced approach with a sustainable model for the future. Keep up the good work ¡!