2021 was a crucial year for the Ferretti Group due to significant business growth and its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. As far as the first aspect is concerned, the pandemic required the Group to create a safe place where freedom and privacy were guaranteed. This need ultimately led to the recovery of the market, which continues to grow steadily thanks to a new way of living life on board boats. This growth, combined with our listing on Asian stock markets, has provided us with an opportunity to further expand our business and integrate sustainability within the Group.
Broadening our spectrum of shareholders will allow us to access the support we need to pursue innovation and development, while also pushing us to be more responsible towards the people with whom we interact. First and foremost amongst these are the people who contribute to our success through their daily work, and as such constitute the most important resource we have. The Group has always understood that people are the lifeblood of improvement and growth. There is no denying that dedication, attention to detail, and service pervade our entire production chain. We would not be market leaders without the craftsmanship of our artisans. It is therefore our prerogative to cultivate this unique relationship over time.
2021 saw an increase in the total number of employees (+4.1% compared to 2020), and the number of young people under 30 hired, which is the highest number in recent years. This alone does not demonstrate the Group’s commitment to value people: training activities, which were severely disrupted by the pandemic, increased by 89% in 2021, reaching a total of 16,522 training hours. A combination of the values and skills described above allows innovation to find fertile ground and permeate all of our products and processes. This, of course, is the result of the significant investments we have made over the years, which contribute to the bigger picture of achieving increasingly sustainable growth.
With this in mind, in 2021 we reached two new frontiers in terms of propulsion types. The first frontier saw us collaborate with Rolls-Royce Power Systems, a leading developer and manufacturer of propulsion systems for the shipping industry. The partnership provides for the joint development of hybrid engines to be fitted on future Group yachts. The second frontier saw our engineers develop a full electric propulsion system, which is another Ferretti Group first for the sector. The need to reduce our environmental footprint saw us conduct research into several renewable materials so that we can create lighter weight boats without compromising on quality and durability. This will allow us to optimise fuel consumption, which will reduce pollutant emissions as a consequence. These new materials also include certain types of paint that have significant environmental benefits. Finally, the Group’s commitment to protecting the ecosystem also involved the (previously announced) extension of its ISO 14001:2015 certification. After being expanded to its Forlì site in 2021, certification will also cover the Cattolica and Sarnico sites in 2022, with the aim of improving the environmental performance of both processes and products.
Our journey to creating an increasingly sustainable business model also impacts our corporate governance structures. This past year saw us establish four new Board committees, thanks in part to the stock market listing process. This included the ESG Committee, which feels most relevant at this particular moment in time. The Committee, in which I am also involved, has been established to help the Board devise sustainable policies and strategies while reviewing and assessing those already in place. This process marks a decisive step towards the vertical integration of responsibility at the Ferretti Group. We will have no sales success without it. Our listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange – which we began in 2021 and completed on March 31, 2022 – makes us proud of everyone who worked towards achieving this very important milestone, and it also marks the beginning of a new life cycle. As of today, our stakeholder network is both bigger and stronger, comprising investors and financial analysts who have always demonstrated their attentiveness to sustainability topics and who will push and inspire us to become leaders in this respect, too.
Alberto Galassi, CEO