Beneteau eyes modest growth in 2014
DOMPIERRE SUR YON, France _ Industry bellwether Beneteau enters 2014 in a cheerier mood than it has been in years. The world’s biggest yacht maker sees growth in its global boating sector rising by 3 to 5% in 2014. That’s modest but much better than the company’s 2012 performance.
The US is taking off, parts of Europe show promise but growth in Latin and Asian markets is slowing, says Beneteau, a publicly-listed yacht maker. That rarity makes it an industry gauge. In recent years of slump in much of Europe, Beneteau expanded its motor yacht ranges. New models now account for 30% of its boat revenues that totaled €74.7 million ($101 million) in the Sept-Nov quarter, up only 0.7% from the same 2012 quarter.
In releasing results for that quarter, Beneteau said “several markets” in Europe show signs of recovery. They will limit the contraction of its overall Europe-wide business to “between 0 and -5%.”
Beneteau says it is well placed to “benefit from a significant uptick in the North American market in 2014, confirming our expectations following the positive signs seen in 2013.” Growth in Latin America and Asia “looks set to slow down,” mirroring an end to years of spectacular growth there. Three-quarters of Beneteau’s business is in sail and motor yachts. The rest is in leisure homes, a sector expected to contract by 15% in 2014.
Beneteau markets the Beneteau, Jeanneau, Lagoon and Prestige brands of sail and motor yachts. In 2012-13, almost 40% of its overall business came from outside of Europe and helped offset the impact of the recession there. Beneteau recorded global boat sales of €624 million ($848 million) last year, up only 2.3% from the previous year.