Sailing: the nautical industry leader Beneteau is working on eco-friendly boats

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© Beneteau

Atlantic France’s boat manufacturer Beneteau, world leader in pleasure boating, is confirming its dynamism with growth figures that were higher than expected in 2022. As the powerboat market is growing, the company wants to reduce the environmental impact of sailing. To do so, it is developing boats built with recyclable resin, electric or hybrid power and teak alternatives.

When the powerboat market exploded in 2020 after the first wave of confinement due to Covid-19, power and sailboat manufacturer Beneteau demonstrated versatility when responding to the ups and downs of the business. The company is now open to more environmentally sustainable alternatives. 

A growing company

Beneteau Group recorded exceptional growth in 2022, with sales, which were estimated at 1.4 billion for the year, being 20% higher in the third quarter than in that of 2021. This growth is not only down to increased sales but also to the upmarket nature of the boats being sold by the group; there has been a shift in focus towards sailboats and motor boats, ranging from 6 to 25m, as well as catamarans. This good economic health should allow the group to continue this dynamic over the next 3 years.

In a TV interview with BFM Business in December 2022, Bruno Thivoyon, Managing Director of the Beneteau Group, spoke of the Group’s good position, despite the uncertain economic climate. He forecasts growth of 10% per year over the next three years, including 15% next year. Although a slowdown is expected in dayboating, the Vendée and Cholet sites are focused on the larger, more expensive boats, where the order book is full.

The Vendée-based group employs 8,500 people worldwide at 22 production sites, 16 of which are located in France. In 2023, the group plans to recruit 1,000 people, half of whom will be in France.

Beneteau invests in sustainable solutions

The group wishes to position itself as a leader in the energy transitioning within the recreational boating sector. This is why it is investing in alternative, electric or hybrid drive solutions with different power levels. 

During the Nautic Boat Show 2022, Beneteau presented two sustainable boat concepts: the First 44e, an eco-friendly boat built from recyclable and thermoplastic Elium® resin and the Oceanis 30.1E, which has an all-electric engine. Developed in partnership with Torqeedo, these new alternatives allow Beneteau to position itself on the sustainable sailing market. 

Beneteau has also recently announced a partnership with Volvo Penta Group, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group specialising in the manufacturing of engines and integrated power systems for marine and industrial applications. They are collaborating on a concept-boat with hybrid-electric propulsion. 

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