February 5 2018
Yann Masselot, the news is prepared for Lagoon: you have closed a very strong nautical season; there is growth in volumes, an extremely rich product plan, but also an industrial plan, with the development of new sites and the expansion of production capacity... The year starts surfing at Lagoon!!
Yann Masselot - This year is indeed a busy year for the shipyard, since we have launched no less than three new products with Lagoon 40, Lagoon 50 and Grand Seventy 8, our big motoryacht. At CNB, we also launched the CNB 66, bringing to four the number of our novelties this year! It's a very rich product plan, and our development teams have done incredible work to launch these four boats in just one month!
Few shipyards manage to launch as many large boats ... on such short periods!
Yann Masselot - Yes, and we are very proud of our teams; I do not think there are many shipyards in the world capable of launching four big boats so quickly!
Some figures on CNB Lagoon? You are one of the biggest industrial sites of Aquitaine and you are also very present in the Bordeaux region...
Yann Masselot - That's right, and we're talking a lot about us right now; Bordeaux City Council pointed out to us last year that we have become the largest private industrial employer in Bordeaux, which makes us happy! We, thanks to such strong growth, are now a very large scale company, since we have a workforce that has more than doubled in 7 years... A great success!
How many people are at Lagoon and what is the turnover?
Yann Masselot - We passed the milestone of 1000 people last June, and for the year that just ended for us at the end of August, the nautical year, we arrived at a turnover of 230 million euros.
How many catamarans are produced? Has the cap of 400 units been crossed?
Yann Masselot - Yes, we have actually passed this milestone of 400 units produced and sold! It's a beautiful course that we never had before.
A course that had not been reached before the crisis?
Yann Masselot - No, it's really a first for Lagoon! For the past three years, Lagoon has exceeded its historical pre-crisis levels. This is very particular to the catamaran market, because the figures in this market show that it is the only sector in the world of boating that is now higher than before the crisis of 2008!
How did you articulate this success?
Yann Masselot - We continue to follow the market demand of our customers. On catamarans, we have - and this is an advantage - many newcomers to the boat market, who have completely different references to those of our traditional customers. These newcomers are actually buying a second home: they expect comfort, a level of luxury and comfort aboard "as at home". We adjusted to this market to meet this demand. By working with our interior designers and architects, we have been able to raise the level of the Lagoon in terms of comfort and perception of luxury.
This is particularly obvious on Lagoon 40 and 50, which are completely different from their predecessors; the Seventy 7 and Seventy 8 too that were inspired by yachts. These two boats are "sold out": they were launched a few weeks ago for the first and a year ago for the second... Did you expect this success, and how many units did you sell? what are the deadlines?
Yann Masselot - We were hoping for such success, because these two units represent huge investments for us, and we had to build industrial installations dedicated to them. We felt there was a demand from the market for bigger boats, since we had stopped at Lagoon at 620 and 630, sail and engine boat (62 feet, 19 meters), and we had a growing number of customers who wanted bigger boats. Therefore, we based our growth on these large boats with these existing customers. What surprised us was that we attracted customers who come from big motor yachts, i.e. customers we did not have before.
Customers who had large monohulls, and who decided to "downsize" to catamaran, engine or sail boats?
Yann Masselot - Indeed, we reconquered clients who had large motor yachts from 75 to 120 feet, and who all say the same thing, and it's really interesting. They all come to the big power catamaran. They found in the product offer we brought a level of comfort and luxury that no one was expecting on a Lagoon. We had a tidal wave of orders, which reassured our teams and our shareholders, because the investments we have made before were enormous.
Precisely, you have built a brand-new factory, already saturated, for these giant catamarans. Does this mean that you will need to open a new shipyard in Bordeaux to meet the demand?
Yann Masselot - You have to keep a cool head, and there is a priority when you arrive at this level of boat, it is the quality. The ramp-up of this plant is very gradual, we must not go too fast, and with a very critical eye on every ship that leaves the factory to guarantee the level of quality that we presented on the shows and our customers are expecting. And therefore, it is not planned to double this plant in the immediate future.
A learning phase, therefore, to meet the expectations of customers of superyachts?
Yann Masselot - Absolutely! We must not be deceived in this area: we have entered a world (superyacht, luxury), where we met a clientele that we did not have until now; we have in these customers, many billionaires, and their expectations are very high. We must be up to this challenge! And this is a real challenge for us; we have taken many steps to reach this level!
If we consider now the Lagoon, up to 60 feet, for a larger distribution, the demand is also not
For these models too, you also lack production capacity. You had so far two industrial sites; today you open a third one, with the goal of increasing your production capacity from 400 to 700 units. Is it reasonable?
Yann Masselot - The analysis done within the Bénéteau Group, concluded that on this specific market, the outlook is positive. We think we are on a long-term trend with the development of the catamaran market. The decision was made, and I thank the shareholder, to transform one of the group's monohulls Vendée factories, to build catamarans. Our main plant is located on a site called Belleville-sur- Vie, next to La Roche-sur- Yon, and just one kilometer from this site, there were other plants of Groupe Bénéteau, including one called Poiré that we have transformed and that we continue to transform. For the past 6 months, we have started to produce catamarans in this factory, to be in the long term, on a horizon that we have not fixed, at a production capacity of 700 catamarans to meet the market.
Market development today is based on intrinsic development and customer transfers. A few months ago, rumors leaked, gradually officialized, that the Lagoon brand, representing a third of the market, was planning to launch a second brand. What about that Yann Masselot? and what would be the horizon?
Yann Masselot - We spent time analyzing the state of the market, its direction, the competitors, and we came to the conclusion that we cannot please everyone. We felt that there are large parts of the market, entire segments that are now neglected. The success of Lagoon and some of our competitors have drained all catamaran builders in part of the market, which remains the heart of the market. But there are other parts of the market that are left behind. We thought maybe it was time to position a range, a brand of catamarans on those areas we know well, and we decided to launch this brand for 2019.
The repositioning of Lagoon with a level of Superior finish and luxury, thus opens the door to all possibilities...
Yann Masselot - Exactly, and we have a real long-term vision, and our shareholders trust CNB to develop this new brand. This is an exciting challenge!
Decryption - With this second brand of catamarans, complementary to Lagoon in its positioning, the CNB-Lagoon shipyard intends to strengthen its leadership in the market, especially against new entrants like Dufour, or against Fountaine-Pajot that, this year, shows a – a little disappointing - sales growth of 12% (23% for Lagoon and 26% for Catana Group). The positioning of this new brand will be interesting to observe, both in terms of services offered, as in terms of design and features. The coming months will certainly be exciting in the multihull market...