Beneteau orders down in 2009

French boatbuilder Beneteau’s share price has hit a 52-week low and is warning of a drop in orders in 2009.

The group reported an ‘atypical start to the boat season’ for 2009 alongside its 2007-2008 figures, saying the current banking crisis has resulted in a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude among certain clients.

“The rate of orders for the 2008-2009 season will be very different from previous years, with orders taken later depending on the country,” read a statement from the Beneteau Group.

Shares in the Beneteau Group dropped to a 52-week low of ?9.26 in reaction to the news. The group is currently trading at ?9.45 per share, up 2.05 per cent on the 52-week low.

Beneteau reported sales for its 2007-2008 (September 1 to August 31) financial year as exceeding predicted levels.

Boat sales grew by 7.8 per cent on the year before from a value of ?798.7 million in 2006-2007 to ?860.7 million in 2007-2008. Sailboat sales grew by 6.2 per cent, generating ?569.4 million for 2007-2008. Powerboat sales grew 10.9 per cent, totalling ?291.3 million.

Group sales totalled ?1,094.6 million for the period, an increase of eight per cent on 2006-2007.

Growth in boat sales combined with the success of the group’s other activities, including its leisure home business, meant Beneteau achieved in excess of its ?150 million EBIT target for 2008.

The Beneteau Group employs 6,000 people across 24 production sites and is present in over 50 countries.