But expects 10 pc growth in 2010


Bénéteau, the French boatbuilders, predict sales will be down up to 40 per cent this year, but because the company enjoys a ‘solid financial position’ the group will weather the crisis and see double-digit growth in 2010.

Bénéteau intends to outperform the market. The group predicts its sales will be down 30-40 per cent for 2008-2009, according to IBI.

Sales for 2007-2008 amounted to ?1,063.8m and income ?150.2m. Bénéteau’s high assumption forecast for 2008-2009 is ?742m in sales ? a drop of 30 per cent ? and profits of ?29m. The low assumption forecast is ?646m in sales ? 39 per cent down on 2007-2008 ? and ?1m income.

The group’s ‘particularly healthy’ financial position of ?490m net including ?217m net in cash on August 31, 2008 and its high profitability will be key in maintaining investments in preparation for the recovery.

Projections for double-figure growth in 2010 are based on a record new-model plan, including 21 renewals and eight range extensions, the impact of the reduction in stock on the 2009 season, and the effects of the crisis on competitors.

These results and forecasts were released at a meeting yesterday with financial analysts and follows encouraging signs at the recent Paris Boat Show, where Bénéteau noticed a change in behaviour of its French customers following the caution of September, October and November. The show reported 260,000 visitors, a drop of five per cent on last year’s levels.

Boats represent 81 per cent of Bénéteau’s sales and leisure homes 19 per cent. The group is present in over 50 countries and employs 6,000 people across 24 production sites.