Bénéteau launches its strategic plan in a context of crisis
On 9 July 2020, the Bénéteau Group presented its strategic plan for the period 2020-2025. Expected since the arrival of the new CEO, Jérôme de Metz, in the summer of 2019, it had been postponed following the Covid crisis19. The consequences of this crisis have created a special framework for announcements: at the same time, the Bénéteau Group has delivered its results for the first 9 months of its fiscal year, recording an overall drop in sales of -17.9% over the period and -18.4% for the yachts division alone. The most significant fall concerns the European and American markets.
Sale of the CNB, Monte Carlo Yachts, Glastron and Scarab brands
Already underway since the arrival of Gianguido Girotti as Deputy CEO for Brands and Products, reflection on the Bénéteau Group's different brands and their possible redundancy is gathering pace. In its new strategic plan Let's Go Beyond, the French leader in yachting announces, behind the name "Maison des Marques", a refocusing on 8 brands instead of 12. By 2025, the CNB, Monte Carlo Yachts, Glastron and Scarab brands will have been sold or disappeared from the group's catalogue. The number of models on offer is to be reduced from 183 to 128, a 30% decrease.
Refocusing of the boat range
The group identifies 4 main segments of the boating industry:
- the dayboat, whose size panel is reduced, starting at 18 feet instead of 16. The Four Winns brand should be redesigned. A sketch of a catamaran is proposed as an illustration...
- "real estate on the water", including motorboats, trawlers and large catamarans. The number of models is divided by 2. Jeanneau is expected to leave this segment and the sale of Monte Carlo Yachts reduces the size of the flagship to 80 feet instead of 105. The positioning shows the group's refocusing on yachting, moving away from large yachts.
- the monohull sail, whose panel is greatly reduced. The small boats, whose return was announced, are once again being eliminated. The entry-level range is increased to 27 feet instead of 14. The sale of CNB also lowers the top of the panel to 65 feet.
- multihull sailing is maintained in the most dynamic segment of yachting, with the historic Lagoon brand and the newborn Excess.
Reduce the cost of production and development of boats
In addition to brand positioning, the Bénéteau Group, which has set itself the ambition of achieving an operating margin in excess of 10% as soon as yachting returns to its pre-crisis level, is working on its industrial operations. It aims to reduce the development time for new models by 25%. According to management, the improvement in profitability should be achieved by reducing the cost of tools, increasing the number of common systems between models and sharing factories between brands, by boat segment. The organization chart is also being revised to operate by activity at the global level.
To Bénéteau marinas and rental bases?
The digitizing program must continue. The management talks about BandofBoats' ambition to become the leader in the sale of used boats on the internet. The new boats announced will be connected, while a common CRM for all the brands should enable the sharing of information.
But diversification will go further. Without going into further detail, the management document mentions new professions: rental, boat clubs, marinas and water sports.
Since the arrival of the new CEO, we had been waiting for the announcement of the new course he intended to set. After the era of rapid development and explosion of offers under the leadership of Hervé Gastinel, the time seems ripe for refocusing. While the "reduction of fixed costs" is mentioned, as well as the sale of brands, the consequences for employees in France and throughout the world of the Bénéteau Group are not mentioned. After a period of strong recruitment, the HR policy will probably be impacted by the announced reduction in staff numbers.
There have also been changes in diversification announcements. While the former CEO, when questioned about the advisability of investing in chartering like Fountaine-Pajot through Dream Yacht Charter and their common shareholding, considered it inappropriate to go into the field of its charter clients, the new management presents chartering as an axis of diversification.
We will now have to wait for the first decisions to see the concrete consequences of the Bénéteau Group's actions on the yachting market as a whole, particularly the new space left to other yachts, both large and small.