A merger between the Fountaine-Pajot shipyard, one of the world's leading catamaran manufacturers, and Dufour Yachts, a specialist in monohull sailboats, could complete in the coming weeks.

The alliance would result in Fountaine-Pajot taking a majority stake in Dufour, thanks to the financial support of Crédit Agricole Bank and UNEXO, Crédit Agricole Group's investment fund.

The merger between the two shipyards, located in La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast, would give birth to a group with a turnover of €142m and 1,100 employees.

Established in 1964, Dufour Yachts employs 500 people and generated turnover of €63.5m for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017. Led by Salvatore Serio, the yard builds monohulls from 31ft-63ft.

With just over 600 employees, Fountaine-Pajot reported turnover of €79m for the year ended August 31, 2017. Founded in 1976 by Jean-François Fountaine (the current mayor of La Rochelle), the yard is today led by Nicolas Gardies and Romain Motteau and produces a full range of sailing catamarans from 40ft-58ft and motor cats from 37ft to 44ft.

The two brands emphasised the commercial, strategic and industrial interest of this alliance in a joint press release. These include the strengthening of the commercial networks between Dufour, which is very present in Europe, and Fountaine-Pajot, which is very active in the US and the rest of the world.

Each company would retain its identity and management.

After internal consultations, the signing of the final agreement could occur in the coming weeks, says the statement.