Liquidation of Espace Vag: What explanations? (Updated)

James Simon and his wife at the announcement of the takeover of the Espace Vag site in 2018

The Espace Vag shipyard, builder of the Ikone sailboats, has been put into receivership. From the defaulting customer, according to the manager James Simon, to the defective boat, according to the yachtswoman in question, to the difficult launch of the new Ikone 6.50, the reasons that led to the disappearance of the SME from the nautical world are probably many.

Article modified on 24/07

Liquidation of the Espace Vag site

The news came late on Friday, July 19, 2019. The shipyard Espace Vag, builder in Concarneau of the pleasure yachts Ikone and repairer of small fishing boats, is subject to a judicial liquidation procedure with no activity. The company, which employed around ten people, will definitively close its doors on 9 August 2019.

The shipyard claims to be the victim of a delinquency on a sailboat..

According to James Simon, who took it over in 2018, the Espace Vag company, founded in 1989, will not have survived a default. "What is happening to us is unfortunately classic in small and medium-sized businesses. We had a big payment default in early April following the delivery of an Ikone 7.50, which unbalanced our cash flow. A legal procedure is underway on the subject and I can't tell you more about it. This came at the worst possible moment, as we were starting production of the new Ikone 6.50, with a high level of cash mobilization. The banks initially supported us, but when they saw that there would be no quick settlement, they preferred to stop," explains James Simon.

A client who blames the construction site

As BoatIndustry does not have the role of a surveyor and as legal proceedings are ongoing, it cannot take sides in the current case. Contacted by the client of the Ikone 7.50 quoted by Mr Simon, she indicated that she questioned the quality of the construction of the boat, through various faults, some of which were structurally important.

An ambitious buyer

If the legal dispute may have been the trigger, immediate liquidation without prior receivership raises questions about the fragility of the company. During his first meetings with BoatIndustry in 2018, the new buyer had high ambitions, probably far from the realities of the niche nautical market in which Espace Vag was operating. James Simon announced the creation of an in-house design office, with the objective of increasing from 15 to 20 boats per year. He was aiming for 90% of his turnover to come from exports within 3 to 4 years. "When I arrived, I took over a company in difficulty. I re-injected funds into it. The Ikone 6.50 project was the only way to relaunch the yard," explains the director.

First edges of the Ikone 6.50

The Ikone Saga 6.50

If it is not the reason for the liquidation of the shipyard, the last yacht launched by Espace Vag, the Ikone 6.50 had fuelled the worries. Designed with naval architects Frédéric Neumann and Christophe Barreau, the boat was to be a turning point for the company.. . "This is the first boat from Ikone that is fully digitised, the hull and deck moulds, but also the interior fittings. The Ikone 6.50 is also the first of our boats to be manufactured in infusion from the first unit. " said James Simon in October 2018. But the new boat has been falling behind schedule. Announced for the 2018 autumn boat shows, its presentation is still delayed, the shipyard citing supplier problems. She finally hit the water in early summer 2019. This latest yacht unfortunately puts an end to a 30-year saga for a small business that had created a good reputation, particularly around its catboats.

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