When the Beneteau Group records a financial loss for the year, you know things have been tight for the year. Arguably the best known and most successful boat building in the world has reported an operating loss of -€1.3m in the Boat division for the year ended August 31, 2013.
Cruising start - Beneteau Cup and French Yacht Challenge 2013
However this was a much better figure than initially forecast and it's certainly not all bad news, with the 2014 season expected to mark the global boat market's first growth in five years, of around 3-5 percent.
The French sail and motorboat builder has released details on earnings for its 2012/13 financial year.
Sales in the Boat division were up by 2.4 per cent to €624.4m for the full year ended August 31, 2013, compared to fiscal 2012. Operating income came to -€1.3m versus an initial forecast of -€5.5m, thanks to business exceeding the targets set and a positive trend for margins on direct costs.
Beneteau balances its boat division with housing activities. Total group sales were down 12.4 per cent to €815.4m. In the Housing division, sales were down by 13.7 per cent to €191m. Nevertheless, operating income from housing was also better than expected, reaching €2.3m compared with an initial forecast of -€2.0m.
Benteau's leisure home business generated nearly €7m in operating income, two times more than the figure forecast for the year, thanks to the doubling of international sales and the group’s rapid adaptation faced with a significant contraction on the domestic market. Operational losses in the residential housing business came in at -€4.6m compared with an initial forecast of -€5.5m.
In total, the Beneteau Group recorded €1m in operating income, better than the expected operational loss of -€7.5m, reflecting the upturn in earnings on boat boats and housing. After factoring in a financial balance of -€2.6m, a -€0.6m tax expense and a €2.6m share in earnings from associates, the group recorded €0.7m in net income for the year.
'The performances achieved in the 2013 season and the long-term trends for the markets represent positive factors for the 2014 season,' says Beneteau in a statement. 'In North America, the first tentative trends seen in 2013 are encouraging and are being confirmed at the start of this 2014 season.
'Emerging countries in Asia and South America are markets where customers are buying new boats for the first time, benefiting from structural growth, even if the levels of progress on the markets vary depending on the economic environment.
'Caution is still needed in Europe, where markets are rising in certain countries, but falling in others. In view of these varied trends, the European region overall is expected to be stable at best in the 2014 season.'