Zodiac: "We must not sell off or overuse our brand of boats."

Pierre Bastide, Zodiac's majority shareholder

Between price positioning and industrial challenges, Pierre Bastide, majority shareholder of the semi-rigid manufacturer Zodiac, and his team, review the strategy of the historical nautical company.

Offering Zodiac boats at the right price

At the Nautic in Paris, Zodiac was not presenting any major new boats, but the specialist in semi-rigid boats detailed its new offer, emphasizing its pricing policy. Increasing the standard service by reducing prices is the stated aim. "The standard equipment was a bit poor on the Medline range. We now offer something more qualitative, especially with the saddlery and sunbathing. At the same time, we are lowering the price of the Medline 500 by 5%," says Fanny Revert, product manager at Zodiac. "Neither should the brand be sold off or overvalued. We're not ashamed to be more expensive, but we shouldn't be off the market. We remain the premium of generalists" adds Pierre Bastide, majority shareholder who has temporarily taken over the operational management of the company since the departure of its chairman Dominique Héber Suffrin in November 2019.

Zodiac Medline500

A new pilot to continue the industrial project around the Zodiac name

Although he has separated from the previous manager, Pierre Bastide intends to continue the industrial project launched since the acquisition of Zodiac Nautic in 2015. "Dominique Héber Suffrin did a good job, but not fast enough. I hope to have a new pilot in early 2020. Its mandate will be to continue the turnaround with the aim of being profitable next year. What I liked at the beginning when I bought the company was the strength of the Zodiac name. I'm a biker and I'll draw a parallel with Harley Davidson, a name that had fallen into disuse. The strategic project began by rebuilding the industrial base, with boats delivered on time and reducing costs, while recreating the link with dealers so that everyone could earn a living. The fundamentals are there now more than ever."

Reaching Mediterranean and American boaters

Zodiac relies on several levers to boost its sales. By rejuvenating its Medline and N-Zo ranges, the semi-rigid vehicle manufacturer intends to regain market share in the Mediterranean. Other geographical areas are targeted. "North America accounted for 40% of Zodiac's sales and has fallen sharply. We want to come back to it. Asia is also almost virgin," adds Pierre Bastide. Synergies with the Couach Group, of which it is also a shareholder, could be created. "The professional boat sector can open up new markets, like the contract for the SNSM won with Couach. A Couach/Zodiac group is not on the agenda, because we have to keep the strength of the names, but there is a pooling of resources, particularly in research and development and in all technological aspects," summarizes the shareholder.

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