For the nine months ending 31 May, Groupe Bénéteau has reported revenues in the Boat Division of $722.9 million, up 4% compared to the same period last year or 6.9% at constant exchange rates. Boat sales for the third quarter were up 3.1% at constant exchange rates.
The company said results have been supported by positive sales trends in Europe along with brisk fleet orders. Markets in North America, Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world also made positive contributions to revenues, while sales to South America continued to decline sharply, down 40% compared to the first nine months last year.
Based on the order book as of 30 June, the Boat Division is targeting full-year revenue growth of 7% to 8% (at constant exchange rates). Although the builder says these results continue to outpace the rest of the market, the forecast is down slightly from previous projections of 8-10% growth for 2017-18 boat revenues.
Bénéteau outlined several developments imposing downward pressure on boat revenues, including softening of the large motoryacht segment (above 60 feet) where sales are expected to be off approximately $20 million from initial targets for this financial year.
The recent imposition of retaliatory tariffs on US boats exported to Canada and Europe are also expected to weigh on Bénéteau’s results by about €4-5 million for the current financial year, ending 31 August. Extrapolating the builder’s projection for the last quarter of the year across a full 12 months, IBI estimates it could have a minimum impact of €20 million on next year’s revenues if the trade tariffs – 25% for boats going to Europe and 10% for Canada – persist over that period.
At the same time, Bénéteau say it has already taken actions over the past three years for the four powerboat brands produced in America which will help offset the fallout from retaliatory tariffs on exports, including new product development, dealer expansion and market share growth within the US.
In terms of product trends, the company said the outboard motorboat segment has continued to deliver robust sales, while the 30-60-foot inboard segment is performing well along with multihull sailboats. Bénéteau also highlighted its acquisition on 9 July of Slovenia-based Seascape – producing small, towable, performance sailboats 4.3-8 meters in length targeted to novices and younger enthusiasts.
Boat deliveries originally scheduled for the 3rd quarter have been deferred to the final quarter of the year, while the company completed efforts to recruit 500 new permanent staff and ramp up new production capacity. The Group has also announced a decision to close down operations of CNB Pro, which built workboats, and will redirect the facility’s labour and production resources to the multihull business.
With a positive contribution from Housing Division (which accounts for 15% of total Group revenues), Bénéteau as a whole is projecting both revenue and income growth (from continuing operations) of between +7% and +8%. Consolidated revenues across the Group reached €1.21 billion for fiscal 2016-17, with net income of €60 million. Boat revenues exceeded €1 billion for the first time during the same period, for production of more than 9,000 units.
By Arlene Sloan