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 at the end of the day on Friday, July 19, 2019. The Espace Vag shipyard, a builder of Ikone pleasure yachts in Concarneau and a repairer of small fishing boats, is the subject of a judicial liquidation procedure without activity. The company, which employed about ten people, will definitively close its doors on August 9, 2019.

The site claims to be the victim of an unpaid claim on a sailboat

According to James Simon, who took over the company in 2018, Espace Vag, founded in 1989, will not have survived an unpaid debt. "What is happening to us is unfortunately classic in SMEs. We had a large outstanding payment at the beginning of April following the delivery of an Ikone 7.50, which unbalanced our cash flow. A legal proceeding is underway on this subject and I can't tell you more. This happened at the worst possible time, as we were starting production of the new Ikone 6.50, with a strong cash mobilization. The banks supported us at first, but when they saw that there would be no early settlement, they preferred to stop," explains James Simon.

A customer who challenges the construction site

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

An ambitious buyer

If the legal dispute could have been the trigger, the immediate liquidation without prior legal redress raises questions about the fragility of the company. During its first meetings with BoatIndustry in 2018, the new buyer had high ambitions, probably far from the realities of the niche boating market in which Espace Vag was operating. James Simon announced the creation of an internal design office, the objective of increasing from 15 to 20 boats per year. It aimed at 90% of export turnover within 3 to 4 years. "When I arrived, I took over a company in difficulty. I've re-injected funds into it. The Ikone 6.50 project was the only way to relaunch the construction site," explains the manager.

First few days of the Ikone 6.50

The saga of the Ikone 6.50

If this is not the reason for the liquidation of the site, the last sailboat launched by Espace Vag, the Ikone 6.50, had fuelled concerns. Designed with naval architects Frédéric Neumann and Christophe Barreau, the boat was to mark a turning point for the company . "This is the first boat from Ikone that has been completely digitized, the hull and deck moulds, but also the interior layout. The Ikone 6.50 is also the first of our boats made by infusion from the 1st unit. "said James Simon in October 2018. But the new boat has accumulated delays. Announced for the 2018 autumn trade fairs, its presentation is still being delayed, with the site invoking supplier problems. It finally hit the water in early summer 2019. Unfortunately, this last sailboat puts an end to a beautiful 30-year saga for an SME that had created a great reputation, especially around its catboats.

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