Romuald Tuffery, new owner of Franck Roy Shipbuilding, answers questions from BoatIndustry.
How was the resumption of the construction site organized with Franck Roy and what is your career path?
After a professional baccalaureate in electronic systems and embedded systems, I quickly created my company in IT, which I have been running since 2013. WestInfo currently employs 21 people. During my first meeting with Franck Roy at the 2018 Nautic, we discussed at length his proposed sale. Then I went to visit the site in Marsilly. After 1 year of work with Franck on the takeover, the necessary team and the company's development project, the sale became official on November 4, 2019. I already have links with sailing, being from Les Sables d'Olonne where it is very present. WestInfo also participated in the computer installation of Benjamin Dutreux's IMOCA.
Franck Roy, founder of the site (© Emmanuel van Deth)
How is the recovery going from the point of view of the industrial tool and the staff?
The site moves from Marsilly to Achards in the Vendée. We are in the process of moving in. All boat tools and moulds are moved. The site is set up in an old wooden carpentry shop with pretty parquet floors, which fits in well with the identity of the site. Finding the right premises took time. From the point of view of the organization of the places, we start from the blank sheet of paper.
The move was necessary because the new team will rely on Romain Dana for the design office, a former Bénéteau employee, and Antoine Potier as workshop manager, both from Vendée. So it was easier. I will take care of the sales representative, assisted by a technical sales representative. In addition, there are 3 people in production, plus a recruitment planned for early 2020.
What is your development strategy and what are your production objectives?
The short-term idea is to rework the brand and refocus on the flagship models of the Solenn and Morgann ranges. Then there is the idea of a new range close to the Solenn for dayboat.
Solenn 32 (© Emmanuel van Deth)
Of the 208 boats sold since the yard's creation by Franck Roy, 90% have been sold in France. I want to find foreign customers. This is done through a network of dealers, even if we are obviously not sure how a group like Bénéteau works. It is necessary to find some passionate sailors for customers corresponding to the site. The idea is not to make 30 boats a year. Today, we are building 10 of them in the best years, the objective is to double them in a few years.
Franck Roy built some motor boats. Is it still relevant?
I'm considering developing the engine range, but it's not a priority. Today we are already focusing on sailing boats and in the short term on the preparation of the Nautic.