April 23 2018
This is a real earthquake that has just shaken the world of boating and yachting, a sector whose activity has restarted two years ago, and is experiencing an economic upturn that had not been seen since 2008.
Friday the German shipyard Bavaria told the Commercial Court of Würzburg, be in a situation of insolvency, asking to be placed in bankruptcy, as said a spokesman of the company to the German press agency DPA.
This decision could take place as early as Monday according to our information. While the global nautical market is going through a bumper period, Bavaria, which has begun the renewal of its range of sailboats and motorboats by an unprecedented upscale and has diversified into pleasure catamarans - a market in full boom - with the acquisition of the French shipyard Nautitech based in Rochefort, is literally plagued by the weight of an unbearable debt, inherited from two LBOs (Leverage Buyouts) and an initial purchase to its founder for an amount of 1.4 billion euros just before a cycle reversal.
Currently being controlled by the Oaktree and Anchorage Investment Funds, Bavaria Yachtbau's cessation of payments would come from the cessation of its financing by its two shareholders.
If the announcement of the termination of payments of Bavaria has had the effect of a bomb, there were warning signs in recent months that the situation of the shipyard was difficult, despite a record presence on the last Boot of Düsseldorf, the first world boat show.
Thus, a year ago, the company under German law had opted for Luxembourg, its financial situation no longer compatible with German regulations, with nearly 89 million negative equity.
Ten days later, the Commercial Court of La Rochelle had notified the pledge of titles of the French shipyard Nautitech, bought by the German group three years ago, because of non-settlement of a debt.
Last week, at the International Multihull Boat Show, the long-awaited press conference was canceled indefinitely without any explanation, generating serious questions.
What next for the German shipyard?
Does the withdrawal of the support of the two investment funds that supported Bavaria in recent years signify their definitive withdrawal?
Nothing is less certain, because the judicial recovery could in fact be used as a management act, allowing the yard to get rid of the majority of its debt, to the detriment of some of its suppliers and especially of its banking pool.
Part of this debt could actually be converted into shares.
If this were not the case, the candidates for the acquisition of Bavaria are not legion on the market, in a context where the sector is in the midst of re-composition, with the current approach attempts between Fountaine-Pajot and Dufour, which will give birth to a new French giant, and while the American Brunswick has the greatest difficulty in getting rid of Sea Ray, hardly sellable since achieving almost 80% of sales... with a single distributor!
Nautitech Catamaran Shipyard Not Concerned by the Bankruptcy
According to our information, the placement in bankruptcy of Bavaria does not concern its French subsidiary Nautitech that is in very good shape and is currently surfing on the strong global demand for pleasure catamarans.
We will not fail to revisit this information in future editions.