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January February 2020 Marina World

The magazine for the marina industry

Camper & Nicholsons

Camper & Nicholsons Marinas are globally recognised as the experts in developing marinas alongside premium waterside property developments and place-making. We provide consultancy services to anyone who is planning to construct a marina. We manage, operate and own marinas all over the world. Contact: Andrew Garland, Business Development Manager Andrew.garland@cnmarinas.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3405 1782

MARINETEK: 25 YEARS Securing the contract for The Palm Jumeirah marinas in the UAE significantly helped Marinetek to broaden its global reach. Passion, commitment and hard work A lot can happen in quarter of a century. Marinetek co-founders and directors Ilkka Seppälä and Markku Rantanen reflect upon 25 years and, in tandem with president and CEO Mika Parviainen, look to the future. Carol Fulford listens in. Many friends get together to dream by instinct. “If you share experience and up business ventures. Most are discuss different things you become open to different ways of achieving things,” he explains. Friends and business partners, Ilkka Seppälä (left) and Markku Rantanen have worked together to realise an ambition to sell marina solutions worldwide. abandoned; some come to fruition; and a few thrive. The true test is to maintain both business-based friendship and friendship-based business. “We’re not just friends but brothers,” says Seppälä, glancing at Rantanen with a smile that reaches his eyes. “We’ve always worked together – Markku’s a sounding post and a soul mate,” he adds. Rantanen is a listener Porto Carras in Halkidiki is the largest marina in northern Greece and is one of the leading megayacht destinations in the eastern Mediterranean. Marinetek delivered the marina system in 2003 to Technical Olympic. Both cut their teeth in the pontoon business at now-defunct Finnish company Byratek, designing and selling off-the-shelf pontoons for the domestic market. “Everything came from a product catalogue,” says Seppälä, “whereas our business plan was to offer customised products – selling a solution and not just pontoons priced by the square metre.” They also looked beyond Finland’s borders. “Our first project was a breakwater in Holland. This was followed by deliveries to the UK and Germany. But we kept a close eye on the domestic market,” he confirms. Rantanen interjects to emphasise that marketing was also important from day one. “We built up our name carefully until it became a brand.” By 1997 Marinetek was market leader in Finland for pontoons and breakwaters, and the market was booming. “We’d moved from rented factory space and invested in a 3,400m² [36,597ft²] factory in Vantaa as well as extra offices off site,” Seppälä notes. “This put us in a perfect position when it became municipal policy to build marinas everywhere. We also started the Villa pontoon range so as to capture the private sector. We became market leader and remain so – for both.” New markets In order to continue to build its export business, Marinetek started to sell licences but, over time, realised that, while sub-contractors were of value for some projects, keeping in-house control of production was in most cases a better business model. Today, Marinetek has nine factories in key locations, half of which are wholly owned, and half are used subject to contract. This gives Mika Parviainen, president and CEO: “We have high ambitions to grow globally.” the company production capacity in its main business markets of northern Europe, southern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America, and follows its determination to expand into selective markets with a splash rather than a mere ripple. Securing the contract for The Palm Jumeirah in the UAE as a first Middle East project and Palm Harbor, Florida as a first US reference is impressive by any standards. “Palm Jumeirah took six years to build and was a big learning curve,” Seppälä admits. “But this reference - along with Palm Harbor - opened up markets around the world. I truly believe that these two www.marinaworld.com - January/February 2020 13

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