Experts Expect Surge of Yacht Purchases by Bulgarians

Yacht purchases by Bulgarians will surge, Silvia Tsvetanova, Sales Manager of the Hypo Group division in Bulgaria, told journalists, reported BTA.

Since May 2006, the company has concluded eleven leasing contracts for yachts, and at least another ten such transactions have been in preparation since the beginning of the year, with 20-25 new yachts expected to sell by the end of 2007, she said.

Bulgarians opt mostly for motorboats. Yacht leasing transactions require at least 30 per cent co-financing. Vessel prices start from 30,000-40,000 euro and average 200,000-300,000 euro. The company is arranging the sale of an 98 Azimut Leonardo craft in Bulgaria. The basic model costs some 10 million euro, the company said without identifying the buyer.

A yacht lease is usually contracted for a period of five to seven years, and approximately 7,000-10,000 euro have to be paid monthly for a 200,000-300,000 euro craft. The yach owners must share in civil liability and hull insurance. The annual insurance premium is between 0.8 and 2 per cent of the price of the vessel.

The Bulgarian subsidiary of Hypo Group offers a new financing product enabling natural persons who purchase a yacht to save legally thousands of euro from VAT. This is achieved through a transnational transaction concluded via the Italian subsidiary of Hypo Group, Hypo Boat. The company takes advantage of the VAT relief that Italian legislation provides depending on the length of the boat. Thus, only 40 per cent of the value of a 16 to 24 m long craft is taxable, which means that the customer effectively pays 8 per cent VAT.

The company expects an increase in the construction of marinas in Bulgaria. Quite a few Bulgarians now dock their yachts in Greece for lack of sufficient marinas along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, Tsvetanova said.

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