Groupe Beneteau ends fiscal year with 3.2 percent growth in boat sales

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Groupe Beneteau reported sales of $1.45 billion (€1.3 billion) for fiscal 2018-19, up 3.8 percent compared with the same period a year ago. EBITDA was $175.4 million (€157.8 million), up 3.3 percent compared with a year ago. Net income dropped 19.3 percent to $55 million (€49.5 million) for the year.

The company said in a statement that its boat business was up 3.2 percent to $1.27 billion (€1.14 billion) for the year, the fifth consecutive year of growth. It said the growth was driven by “dynamic segments for multihull sailing yachts, on which the Groupe is the world No. 1, and outboard motorboats (European No. 1), as well as results achieved in the monohull sailing world.” Income from ordinary operations was down 5.8 percent for the year.

Sales in its housing business were flat, with 22.5 percent sales growth in exported homes.

“The strong growth from the last few years has led to a significant increase in our investments and reduced operational efficiency, which is reflected in our results for 2019,” said Jérôme de Metz, chairman and CEO, in the statement. “The large number of brands and models represents a strength, supporting a diversified offering with global distribution capabilities, but is also a source of complexity. The sources of losses or underperformance have been clearly identified, and action plans are moving forward.”

De Metz said Groupe Beneteau would present a new strategic plan April 29, 2020. “This will be based on a policy for effectively controlled growth, thanks to the active and coherent management of our brand portfolio, as well as better use of our industrial assets and our know-how,” he said. “This will help drive more value creation.”

The statement noted that sales growth in its monohull and multihull sailing segments made it “possible to offset the drop in sales for the large motoryacht segment (over 60 feet) and the contraction for the American brands, penalized by the trade tariffs introduced in Canada and the European Union for boats produced in the United States.”

The lifting of the Canadian tariffs was “too late to have a significant impact on the financial year,” the company said in the statement. Despite the tariffs, the group reported a 4.5 percent increase in North American boat sales for the year.

The company reported an encouraging initial outlook for 2019-2020. “The atmosphere has been positive at the season’s first shows in Europe, and this trend is expected to be confirmed in the U.S. with the upcoming shows,” the statement said. “The new models launched for the 2019-20 season have received a promising response.”

The company said its order book as October ends is up compared with the previous year.

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