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PPF Group announces a partnership with Groupe Beneteau to create a digitally-driven global leader in sailboat charter tourism

PPF Group

27/7/2021 | 2 minutes to read

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PPF Group has partnered with the world’s premier boatbuilder Groupe Beneteau to create a new global leader in sailboat charter by purchasing controlling stakes in Dream Yacht Charter and Navigare Yachting.

PPF and Groupe Beneteau will together tap the growing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism boosted by the sector’s offline-to-online switch. The digitalization process will, in turn, benefit the digital assets and online booking platforms operated and owned by the acquired charter companies.

The joint-venture, with 59% owned by PPF and the remaining shares held by Groupe Beneteau, will bundle the number-one (Dream Yacht) and number-four (Navigare) operators, which together recorded a pre-Covid revenue in 2019 exceeding EUR 200 million. The two charter companies and their subsidiaries, including the fast-growing digital booking platform SamBoat, operate the world’s largest combined fleet of about 1,200 sail-powered vessels.

The joint-venture partners expect the transaction to close before September 30, subject
to the satisfaction customary of closing conditions. The PPF and Groupe Beneteau partnership will command a significant share of the otherwise fragmented global leisure boat charter market, with total pre-Covid annual bookings of around EUR 1 billion. It will offer boat owners and leisure sailors the sector’s leading digital booking apps. The joint-venture will hold a very strong position, particularly in the Caribbean and other exotic (Seychelles, French Polynesia) regions, and a presence in more than 50 marinas around the world, from the Mediterranean to Asia and the Pacific. 

The multifaceted transaction was accomplished by PPF and Groupe Beneteau jointly purchasing 87% of Dream Yacht and its subsidiaries. Its founder Loic Bonnet will remain
a minority shareholder. The joint-venture will also own a 50% stake in Navigare which PPF recently purchased from a company controlled by Navigare Yachting’s founder Jesper Rönngard. The PPF-Groupe Beneteau partnership also has a call option to acquire 100%
of Navigare.

PPF has decided to invest in the leisure sailing business since it is swiftly becoming
an expanding lucrative niche in the mass-market travel industry. An ever-widening circle
of enthusiasts is opting for sailboat charters. Families, groups of friends, and individuals are seeking refreshing holiday experiences away from crowds. As a result, the sector is likely
to recover rapidly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic amid the lingering health safety concerns and social-distancing requirements. 

With its light carbon footprint and emphasis on slow travel, sailboat chartering is well-positioned to benefit from the growing desire of holiday-goers to make their getaways sustainable and eco-friendly. PPF sees long-term potential for these businesses to outlast other sub-segments of tourism. As an investment proposition, the sailboat charter market attracts major financial investors such as PPF since it offers to leverage digital transformation to consolidate the fragmented sector on a global scale.

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