Yachting Art Magazine

Boating Industry - Groupe Bénéteau refocuses on 8 out of 12 boat brands

This evening, the presentation of the Let's Go Beyond strategic plan took place live on the internet, from the Paris headquarters of the Bénéteau Group's holding company. This strategic plan, which concerns both the Boat business and the Leisure Homes business, was originally due to be presented in April. The containment caused by the Covid 19 epidemic will have pushed back the date of presentation of this plan, and will no doubt have pushed the Group to adapt it to the new situation. 

Jérôme de Metz, CEO of Groupe Bénéteau

Jérôme de Metz, CEO of Groupe Bénéteau

This strategic plan, which we present to you in Yachting Art English Edition for the Boat sector, materializes the strategy imagined by the group's new CEO, Jérôme de Metz.

The main orientations of Groupe Bénéteau's strategic plan

The 4 main directions announced by Groupe Bénéteau in the yachting sector are as follows: 

  • The refocusing of the Group's efforts on 8 global brands, compared with 12 previously, covering as many market segments, with less investment thanks to a strengthening of their positioning and differentiation. In this respect, Groupe Bénéteau will become a "House of Brands".
  • The reorganization of the Group's factories, which will now be multi-brand, and specialized by market segment, along the lines of what is found in the automotive industry ;
  • The reduction of boat development times, by adapting the resources of the design offices to the Product Plan;
  • The Group's managerial reorganization, which is tighter and structured by major global functions: General Management, Brand Management, Industrial Management, HR & Communication and Finance;

At this press conference, Jérôme de Metz stressed that Groupe Bénéteau wants to be a pioneer in sustainable yachting. Hybrid and electric engines are expected to enhance the Group's brands' offer. In this respect, the Océanis 30.1, the youngest in the Bénéteau sailing yacht range, would be the Group's first boat to offer a 100% electric version.

The Let's Go Beyond plan also envisages, in the long term, broadening Groupe Bénéteau's portfolio of activities towards services, in synergy with its distribution networks. A large part of future investments will be directed towards the digitalization of its activities (Band of Boats transaction platform, CRM, configurator, connected boats, etc.) and processes (ERP, etc.).

The 8 global boat brands retained by Groupe Bénéteau

Until now, Groupe Bénéteau has had a portfolio of 12 brands of pleasure boats, comprising 180 models, ranging from 14-foot (Bénéteau First 14) to 105-foot (Monte Carlo Yachts 105).

The implementation of the Let's Go Beyond plan will rely on a brand house, in charge of 8 global brands, i.e. 4 leading brands, and 4 brands with strong development potential :

The 4 leading global brands of the Bénéteau Group:

  • Bénéteau
  • Jeanneau
  • Prestige
  • Lagoon

Groupe Bénéteau's 4 high-potential global brands

  • Excess Catamarans
  • Four Winns
  • Wellcraft
  • Delphia

The 4 brands of boats that Groupe Bénéteau will be selling off

Groupe Bénéteau's repositioning on 8 global brands will lead it to sell or manage in joint venture 4 brands, some of which it has owned for decades :

  • CNB: the luxury sailing yacht brand, whose production left Bordeaux for Italy a year ago, in order to free up production capacity for Lagoon luxury catamarans is for sale. Leader in its sector, it should easily find a buyer.
  • Monte Carlo Yachts: the Bénéteau Group's adventure in the world of yachts and superyachts comes to an end, after heavy losses. This sale marks the difficulty for an industrial group to adapt to the very special world of superyachts, which is plagued by fierce competition and perilous takeover policies. 
  • Scarab: an American brand resulting from the takeover of Rec-Boats and BRP's range of boats, Scarab is distinguished by jet engines that are as original as they are leaded in Europe by customs duties. A 100% American offer, which should be taken over by a local player.
  • Glastron: the American brand, a star of the 1980s in sports boats, has like Scarab particularly suffered from customs duties. As a result, it is difficult to establish itself in Europe. Its future is certainly North American.

A strategic plan implemented in a difficult market environment

The first phase of the plan is part of a market environment shaken by the crisis following Covid-19

The post-Covid 19 crisis opens a new economic cycle. In a first period, over 2020 and 2021, the strong decline in global activity is observed and will affect the yachting market. It should be followed by a clear recovery, the extent of which will depend on the speed at which the health crisis is resolved.

With more than €600 million in shareholders' equity at 28/02/2020, €300 million in confirmed and undrawn credit lines, to which will be added a €120 million State-guaranteed loan, and a lack of net debt, Groupe Bénéteau announces that it is preparing to face variations in volumes, both downward and upward, which could reach amplitudes comparable to those of the 2008-2009 crisis.

With this in mind, it plans to significantly reduce its production capacities over the coming months, in parallel with a reduction in all its fixed costs. Discussions have been initiated with the social partners, both in France and abroad.

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