Groupe Beneteau reports record earnings for 2023


French boatbuilding giant Groupe Beneteau has released its consolidated full-year earnings, revealing a record financial performance for 2023.

The news comes after the appointment of Nicolas Retailleau as chief financial officer (CFO) of Groupe Beneteau, effective November 1, 2023.

The boat division’s revenues reached €1.465m in 2023, up 17.1 per cent from 2022. The slowdown in demand for the motor business (-€150m) was offset by growth across all the segments (+€190m) and the deliveries of sailing units (+€40m).

Sales also benefited from the distribution network’s stock replenishment, which is back up to pre-Covid levels (+€150m).

The sailing business had a robust 31 per cent full-year growth, reflecting the significant upturn in sales to charter professionals (+68 per cent), the commercial success of the new models released, and the Excess brand’s strong penetration on the catamaran market.

For the motor business, up 9 per cent at constant exchange rates, sales show strong growth for the group’s ‘Real Estate on the Water’ segments (+17 per cent), thanks in particular to the commercial success of the Prestige brand’s first catamaran models.

The dayboating segments recorded a 3 per cent increase in revenues, with a 23 per cent reduction in the number of units delivered. This benefited in particular from the extension of the Merry Fisher and Antares lines, as well as the launch of the DB range.

Groupe Beneteau

This strong performance by the boat division enabled it to achieve a record level of income from ordinary operations in 2023, up 57 per cent from the previous year (€131.8m) to €206.8m, with an operating margin of over 14 per cent of annual revenues, up €75m year-on-year.

The value creation strategy contributed €22m to this structural progress, while the progress made with operational performance levels represented a further improvement of €3m.

In addition, 2023 income benefited from the group effectively anticipating the impacts of inflation (+€25m), as well as the stock replenishment seen across the distribution networks, back up to their pre-Covid levels in terms of volumes (+€44m).

Lastly, development costs linked to the new ERP totalled €13m for the year, up €6m from 2022, while the changes in €/$ exchange rates, which had exceptionally contributed to income in 2022, have since normalised (-€12m).

The boat division’s EBITDA is up 32 per cent to €262.4m, representing 17.9 per cent of revenues (vs. 15.9 per cent in 2022), up 32 per cent.

Benefiting from the sustained trends seen on the camping tourism markets, the housing division generated €319.6m of revenues in 2023, up 24 per cent year-on-year. This growth enabled the division to generate €39.3m of income from ordinary operations over the period, representing 12.3 per cent of revenues, up 72 per cent from 2022. In accordance with IFRS 5, this income is now recognised at group net income level, after deducting taxes and other non-operating expenses.

Net income (group share) came to €185m for 2023, up 79 per cent from 2022 (€103m). It includes €6.4m of financial income (vs. -€12.3m in 2022), benefiting from the change in interest rates, while the previous year was affected by currency hedging income and expenses (-€10m).

Over the year, the share of associates is up €2m, driven primarily by growth in the financing activities of its subsidiary SGB.

The group’s free cash flow before IFRS 5 came to €81.6m for the year (€9.5m for the housing division) compared with €28.3m in 2022. The €55m increase in the boat division’s working capital requirements is linked primarily to the reduced level of client deposits (-€48m) resulting from the normalisation of the order book.

The boat division’s €72m of net investments is €14m higher than the previous year, linked in particular to the measures rolled out to increase the flexibility of production capacity (+€10m) and improve the environmental impact of the buildings (+€3m).

Beneteau Oceanis 60

Alongside this, the changes in scope represented a net investment of €13m. The group acquired a controlling interest in the Tunisian-based yard Magic Yacht, in which it was a minority shareholder, as well as Wiziboat, a European digital boat club specialist. It also further strengthened its stake in Your Boat Club in the United States (from 40 per cent to 49 per cent) and acquired a 20 per cent interest in YachtSolutions, which specialises in supporting owner clients to create custom fit-outs for large units.

After dividend payments and share buybacks for €40m, net cash represented €247m at December 31, 2023, up €36m over the year.

The group’s robust financial position is also illustrated by the €856m increase in its shareholders’ equity at December 31, 2023, compared with €706m at December 31, 2022.

Lastly, the return on capital employed (ROCE1) continued to progress in 2023 to reach 42 per cent at the end of the year (versus 32 per cent at December 31, 2022 and 14 per cent at August 31, 2019). With revenues three times higher than the capital employed (stable between 2022 and 2023), and strong progress with the operating margin, this group says this performance reflects the efficiency and effectiveness of its value-driven growth strategy.

Sustainable and accessible boating

There was strong progress across the three pillars from the group’s B-Sustainable programme, in line with the group’s ambition for 2030.

Groupe Beneteau ramped up the rollout of its B-Sustainable programme, which was launched in 2022.

Illustrating this, the CO2 emission intensity relating to electricity and gas consumption (scopes 1&2) came in 6 per cent lower than 2022, the boat division accident frequency rate was reduced by more than 9 per cent over the period, and 41 per cent of the boat division’s purchases are now placed with suppliers whose CSR approach has been formally assessed (+17pts vs. 2022).

Moreover, after carrying out life cycle assessments on its main products, the boat division was able to assess its first carbon footprint covering scope 3, helping set out concrete milestones for the next steps with its programme to reduce its carbon intensity by -30 per cent by 2030.

This programme is based on continuing to move forward with the industrialisation of innovative solutions, through the choice of materials used, integrating biosourced and recyclable elements, as well as the selection of alternative propulsion solutions and the optimisation of its boat architecture solutions.

The group acquired a stake in the Swedish company Candela, specialising in developing foiling electric boats. This technology aims to reduce energy consumption by 80 per cent, while offering increased stability on the water and doubling or tripling the range levels achieved compared with other electric propulsion solutions. This group says this minority interest will help drive the industrialisation of decarbonised solutions for the recreational boat and passenger transport market.

Beneteau Oceanis 40.1
Image courtesy of Robin Christol.

New boating solutions: sharing economy and digital acceleration

Seanapps, Groupe Beneteau’s digital solution, which connects end customers with their dealer and brand each day, is already fitted on around 8,000 boats. This connected fleet has already covered nearly one million nautical miles, making it the world’s most widely-established connected fleet by some distance, according to the group.

During the year, the group also further strengthened its positioning on various activities relating to the sharing economy. Thanks to the development of Your Boat Club’s activity in the United States and the acquisition of Wiziboat in Europe, the group will now operate a fleet of over 500 boats, spread across around 50 bases. It expects to see double-digit business growth in 2024.

The weekly charter companies in which the group acquired interests in 2021 returned to their pre-Covid levels of business from 2023 and now represent a fleet of over 1,000 boats. They will continue to turn around their profitability in 2024.


While the various premium segments continue to see very sustained levels of demand, the changes in interest rates are causing certain recreational boat owners to adopt a wait-and-see approach and encouraging dealers to scale back their stock coverage in 2024. As announced previously, the group expects to see dealer inventory levels contract by around €100m to €150m in 2024, while 2023 benefited from a reverse phenomenon for around €240m, linked to the normalization of sourcing conditions.

Despite the scale of these differences in activity levels, the group says many different flexibility measures already anticipated, such as the adjustment of working times at certain French sites, will enable the boat division to maintain an ordinary operating margin of 7 per cent to 10 per cent in 2024.

While these significant variations in inventory levels are expected to be cancelled out in 2025, the growth drivers put in place and the further structural efficiency gains to be rolled out will enable the goup to return to a double-digit operating margin within this timeframe.

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