World-beating French boat firm kept afloat by R&D cash

The CNB 66, the latest yacht from French-based Groupe Beneteau

Boat building is a fickle business, but it is one in which France now leads the way.

The relative strength of the French industry was illustrated when German boat-builder Bavaria, which had been one of the world’s most successful, filed for bankruptcy last year.

It was eventually bought from the receiver by an investor who said he would cut back on foreign production.

UK motorboat-maker Sunseeker International is now owned by a Chinese conglomerate after passing through the hands of an Irish fund.

Before the Irish investors stepped in, there were fears that Sunseeker would sink.

Among the companies named as possible buyers of parts of Bavaria was Groupe Beneteau, a French firm which makes sailing boats ranging from four-metre dinghies ...

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