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Groupe Beneteau continues its transformation and reaffirms commitment to ecological transition

by Beneteau Group 13 Sep 05:08 PDT
Groupe Beneteau continues its transformation and reaffirms commitment to ecological transition © Groupe Beneteau

Groupe Beneteau has been building sail and motor boats since 1884 to suit all types of navigation. The only multi-specialist able to cover the broadest spectrum of product and service segments on the market is ending its strategic plan "Let's Go Beyond!" and is showcasing its transformations at the launch of the Cannes Yachting Festival show on 12 September 2023.

Groupe Beneteau has had a record year, where its innovative ability and its vision of the market and customer experience have enabled it to meet the new expectations in a market in full evolution. The French champion, with its international boat business accounting for 84% of its turnover, intends to play a key role in transforming its sector and the change in uses to contribute fully to meeting the environmental challenges. Lastly, faced with major changes in practices and new expectations of future generations in terms of experience, technologies and sustainability, the group is increasing its position in services, beyond its traditional activity of boat building.

1 - A record year featuring innovation and sustainability

2019 - 2023: A plan combining optimisation, innovation and agility
After 4 years of transformation, Groupe Beneteau's boat division continues to grow in 2023. Its turnover, which stood at €1.14 billion in 2019, could reach an all-time high of €1.45 billion in 2023.. The group has seen its market capitalization increase by 50% over the period. Its Boat division is now targeting an operating margin of 11.5% in 2023. The group benefits from a positive cash position of over €200 million, enabling it to look forward to a serene future. Results for the first half of 2023 will be made public on September 27, 2023.

Groupe Beneteau is currently the only multi-specialist in its sector
Groupe Beneteau is currently active in four market segments (monohull sailing, multihull sailing, day boating and Real Estate on the Water). It offers 128 models, both sail and motor, across its nine brands, from 4.5 to 24 metres. Groupe Beneteau has not stopped innovating since 2019, launching an average of twenty new models a year and focusing on customer experience. The Group is making progress in its four market segments:

  • In the sail segment (monohull and multihull sailboats): the group offers the widest nautical experience on the market in 2023, from racing to luxury cruising. It maintains a strong market share with four flagship brands: BENETEAU, JEANNEAU, LAGOON and EXCESS. The Group has achieved this by renewing and reinforcing the leadership of its Oceanis (BENETEAU brand), Sun Odyssey, (JEANNEAU brand) and the LAGOON brand. The emblematic First (BENETEAU brand) range has been relaunched from 36 to 53 feet. Lastly, in the catamaran market, alongside its leader LAGOON brand, the youngest brand in the Group, EXCESS, is targeting customers seeking the thrills of multihull sailing.

  • In the Day boating segment: in 3 years, the Group has accelerated its development in the United States, continued to extend its European ranges Cap Camarat, Merry Fisher (JEANNEAU brand) and Antares (BENETEAU brand), while creating new premium offer segments, in particular by diversifying the range of its 2 American brands, WELLCRAFT and FOUR WINNS.

  • In the Real Estate on the Water segment: two major brands, BENETEAU (with Swift Trawler) and PRESTIGE, are improving their range and the brand experience further by rationalising this segment. The PRESTIGE brand has been a perfect incarnation of user experience for thirty years and is now entering the motor catamaran segment. From spacious luxury to increased stability, the M8 shown at Cannes rounds out perfectly the PRESTIGE product range. A real motor yacht on a multihull platform. Leader in this market segment, the Group has 20% market share.

"The cornerstone of our success has been the constant focus on innovation serving to improve the user experience. We have carried out our plans with agility, delivered on our commitments and put together a close-knit team capable of expanding effectively in key strategic segments. Faced with the challenges that lie ahead, we are determined to continue this momentum in all our segments, as we have always done for more than 140 years. Only those who dare, take risks and encourage innovation will carve out a better future", states Gianguido Girotti, CEO of the Boat Division.

2 - Ecological transition: Groupe Beneteau commits to a 30% drop in its CO2 emissions by 2030

The Group's CSR approach, now in existence for over ten years, was speeded up when its programme B-Sustainable was formalised in 2022. The Group takes a global environmental approach, based on an in-depth analysis of the life cycle of its various boats, with different results and therefore solutions between sailing and motor boats. Groupe Beneteau is increasing the initiatives to offer additional and impactful solutions depending on uses. At its level, the Group's stated ambition is a 30% drop in CO2 emissions intensity by 2030.

Groupe Beneteau has thus set three major priorities for actions to be performed to meet this objective:

    1. Offer alternative propulsions appropriate for each use to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. The result is a variety of technical solutions, depending on the boating experience, for example 100% electric for day boating, series hybrid for sailboats and parallel hybrid for the Real Estate on the Water segment. The Group thus commits to offering alternative propulsions on its entire product range by 2030.

    2. Acting on materials, with more sustainable components and the development of new recycled materials. For example, the Group is working on changing the amount of biosourced material in its polyester resin. This is increasing from 14% in 2022 to 35% in 2023. Another example is replacing the current polyester resin by an Elium® recyclable resin, which may be re-used at the boat's end-of-life. This material will ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of our materials by 70% compared with standard materials on the market. The first production run has recently left the Group's Nantes boatyard with a racing boat, the JEANNEAU Sun Fast 30 OD, produced in partnership with Multiplast, which will demonstrate its performance and robustness in extreme conditions.

    And going even further, in 2024, Groupe Beneteau will also be the first boatyard in France to re-use all the off-cuts from its glass fibre production. Its products are destined for the car industry.

    3. Working on the architecture: a foil to minimise water drag, advanced technology. The Group's work on the naval architecture of the boat has reduced its hull drag and therefore its energy requirement. This is true of the M8 by PRESTIGE. Energy consumption was divided by 2 by moving from a monohull to a multihull. But Groupe Beneteau has no intention of stopping there. It will exhibit the FOUR WINNS TH36 fitted with foils at the Cannes Show in September 2024. This innovation will improve glide over water, thereby reducing drag by 20%. This will not only reduce consumption; it will also be a new experience with smoother driving and greater comfort for the user.

"As a major player in the marine industry, we have a responsibility to the environment and are part of the solution. The innovations we have developed over the years help us to convert our ideas into concrete, robust and mature solutions for all our products, without excluding user experience. That is the most important thing. But innovation is not just about developing eco-designed products. It goes further by analysing changes in the use of our boat and its associated new opportunities", analyses Gianguido Girotti.

3 - Services: Groupe Beneteau is stepping up its development in new boating businesses and placing customer experience at the heart of its expansion strategy

Faced with major changes in practices and new expectations of future generations in terms of experience, technologies and sustainability, the group wishes to take any increasingly significant position in services, in line with its traditional activity of boatbuilding.

Boating Solutions, the services division of Groupe Beneteau, is expanding its range of solutions so as to live experience on the water to the full Groupe Beneteau's Boating Solutions division is a major component in its global strategy, which aims to offer full and innovative experiences on the water to both owners or occasional users. Boating Solutions was originally developed with the Financing business. The Group used its subsidiary SGB to structure the boat financing model for the entire European distribution. Today, the ecosystem of the Boating Solutions division has expanded to meet new expectations for use.

For its owner customers, Groupe Beneteau intends to develop its personalisation services and to this end took a 20% minority shareholding in the company Yacht Solutions last July. This company offers owners of large boats a wide selection of technical, interior fittings and personalisation solutions designed specifically for their boat model.

It has entered the digital sector with SEANAPPS, an application providing boat monitoring and preventive maintenance. In just a year it has already equipped 6,000 boats and 500 dealers and is targeting 20,000 by 2025. The aim is to connect the entire Beneteau Group to Seanapps.

"The sharing economy will also be part of the pleasure boating ecosystem", states Bruno Thivoyon, CEO of the Groupe Beneteau and the Boating Solutions Division. "We have decided to be a part of it. The Boating Solutions services division is taking up the baton and starting precisely where our boat builder business ends, i.e. once the boat has been delivered. On the one hand, it enables us to offer different navigation solutions for people who don't yet want to become homeowners, and on the other hand, to better understand the expectations of end-users."

In the weekly charter sector, the Boating Solutions division acquired a stake in two charter companies in 2021: Dream Yacht Charter and Navigare Yachting, which are now back to pre-Covid levels.

Already present, also since 2021, in boat clubs in the United States with "Your Boat Club", which now operates on 35 sailing bases, the Group has just announced the takeover of WIZIBOAT, a company specializing in boat rental by subscription to expand in Europe.

Groupe Beneteau is targeting a total of ten thousand members over the next five years, taking advantage of the Group's dense and professional distribution network.

WIZIBOAT - Subscription boat rentals which meet the expectations and uses of new generations

WIZIBOAT is the first digital application (available on smartphones) focusing on self-service short-term rentals of shared boats. It currently has some twenty bases in France. WIZIBOAT users are on average fifteen years younger than the boat owners and 80% of users are new to boating.

"80% of boat club members are first-time boaters. They represent totally these new boating enthusiasts who seek to enjoy boating responsibly, with a simple, commitment-free user experience. This demonstrates that the boat club is a true gateway to boating that attracts new generations and people with little boating experience", explains Paul Blanc, Boat Club Development Manager.

Conclusion: Groupe Beneteau, building on the transformations of the last four years, is beginning its 140 years calmly and with ambition.

"Groupe Beneteau is emerging stronger from 3 years of transformation. It is pursuing its mission of "Bringing dreams to water" by addressing a very broad audience of owner and occasional customers. Today, we are the only multi-specialist in the boating industry. The quality of the user experience is at the heart of our organization. Our goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 is a major challenge. It testifies to our commitment for a more environmentally-friendly industry. As the Group celebrates its 140th anniversary next year, the Group and its 8,000 employees will continue its transformation, building on the values that have made it so strong: passion, boldness, the spirit of conquest, and transmission." concludes Bruno Thivoyon.

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