Delphia Yachts speaks to IBI about plans for the future

Polish boatbuilder Delphia Yachts Shipyard, a subsidiary of Groupe Beneteau in France, is aiming to intensify its expansion plans with the launch of new investments and the introduction of new models to its product range.

The company’s management board spoke with IBI about the investments underway at Olecko in northeast Poland and how these projects align with the global strategy of its French majority owner. The group also explained why the yard has moved to focus on motoryachts and dropped the production of sailing boats.

Set up in 1990, the Olecko-based boatbuilder operated under the name of Sportlake until 2003. In December 2018, Groupe Beneteau announced that its Polish offshoot, Ostroda Yachts, acquired an 80% stake in Delphia Yachts Shipyard, while the company’s founders Piotr and Wojciech Kot retained 20% of the shares. The acquisition was formalised in November 2018, following an acquisition agreement set out in July 2018.

Delphia Yachts Shipyard builds craft from 7m-15m (23ft-49ft) in length. In 2017, the year before its acquisition, the company built 250 sailing yachts and 1,300 motorboats – an increase of 3% compared with a year earlier when the yard produced 50 motorboats less. Prior to the takeover, Delphia’s export sales remained at the level of between 90% to 95% of the total, and its main export markets included Western European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Due to the relatively small size of Poland’s yacht market, foreign sales continue to dominate the company’s sales structure, and are the main driver behind its expansion projects.

IBI: Has Delphia Yachts Shipyard carried out any new investments since July 2018 when its acquisition agreement with Groupe Beneteau was set out, and are you planning to implement any new investments this year or in 2020?

Delphia: As part of our new ownership structure, a plan to develop our shipyard was developed for the next two years. Some of the largest investments to be made include a modernisation of our technological infrastructure, the construction of a new carpentry shop and workshop, and the modernisation of the existing facilities related to their ventilation and heating. A part of these activities is already underway or in its preparation phase. We are also planning to expand the production surface of our facility. We want to introduce new technologies in the field of laminating processes, and we are also very much interested in continuing to increase our workforce at the shipyard.

IBI: Have you introduced any new boats to your product range over the past year? Are you planning to add any new models in the coming months?

Delphia: Last January, our new motoryacht fitted with a flybridge, the BluEscape 1200 FLY, had its official premiere at boot Düsseldorf. In the coming season, we plan to focus our efforts on developing our line of displacement and semi-slip yachts under the Delphia brand.

IBI: What is your shipyard’s current sales structure? How much of your sales are generated by export sales, and to which countries do you sell the most?

Delphia: Export sales represent around 95% of our sales. The main foreign markets include Western Europe, the Scandinavian countries, and Russia.

IBI: Following Delphia’s acquisition by Groupe Beneteau, was there a decision to overhaul the shipyard’s product portfolio? Has the takeover had any impact on your strategy or development plans?

Delphia: Delphia Yachts Shipyard has cooperated with Groupe Beneteau for many years. The group’s acquisition of a major stake in the shipyard further tightened our cooperation and it allowed us to increase the production of yachts for Groupe Beneteau. Furthermore, the development plans for products made under the Delphia brand were also created from scratch as part of the new strategy for the company. A decision was taken to end the production of sailing yachts, and focus the brand’s development on the production of motorboats, in particular under the BluEscape, Escape and Nano product lines. In the coming years, we plan to expand each of these lines by introducing new craft. The company is now part of a global structure, and, owing to this, the strategy for its development is reflected in Groupe Beneteau’s plans which foresee a sustainable, continuous growth within all of the main segments of its activity.