Group Beneteau’s Boat Division generated revenues of €378m for the first half of its financial year ended February 2018, an increase of 7.5% over the same period last year (+10.5% at constant exchange rates).

France’s leading builder said the strong results were driven by 22% growth in European markets. Invoicing for fleet sales was flat through the first half, although the company said its order book for this segment was up nearly 21% through the end of March. Similarly, invoicing for sales in North and Central America reflected a softening of -7.5% for the first half, while the order book for the region is up more than 6%.

South American sales remained depressed, down more than 22% for the period, while Asia-Pacific was up 4% and Rest of World sales improved 13%. Overall, Beneteau reported its order book up 15%, with a steady split between the motorboat and sailboat business of 56:44.

New orders for large motoryachts (over 60ft) have been subdued so far this year, coming in below the company’s annual target. Beneteau also said industrial operations have been temporarily hampered by the pace of recruitment for 500 new employees and start-up of new production capacity.

Earnings in the Boat Division were penalised during the first half by a negative euro/dollar exchange rate, but operational profitability was up one point.

With strong results also achieved in Beneteau’s Housing Division – particularly Italy and France – consolidated revenue growth for the Group overall was up 8% for the first half (+10.5% at constant exchange rates).

Given the favourable market environment, Beneteau raised its revenue target to €1.5bn for the year (versus €1.4bn previously). The current operating margin has also been revised upwards and is expected to reach 8.5-9%.

The Boat Division’s outlook for full-year revenue growth was also confirmed at between +8-10% at constant exchange rates, outpacing the market.