“The ruling comes after a number of 'small victories' for Chantier Naval Couach,” said, Couach's CEO, Christophe Kloeckner. He cited the renewal of the contract for a second 50m yacht, delivery of the 2800 Open in June, the start of two patrol boats for the Yemen Coast Guards and the delivery of the 26m Fly, a new model for the yard, to be presented in Cannes, as part of the new upward curve for Couach.
“All these materialise the new way Couach wants to operate and deliver value to its customers,” he stated.
The Commercial Court of Bordeaux approved the yard’s repayment plan to its creditors in July. Magistrates agreed to stagger the shipyard’s debts - amounting to some €5 million - over ten years. Now the yard is focusing on the business strategy, which is to secure more orders and diversify operations.
“There will be a change in our approach on yachts. We will invigorate, very aggressively, our network of brokers and renew the connection with historical customers that 'lost faith' in Couach due to the history”, said Kloeckner.
"Couach is a very strong brand with a very challenging position in the market. Today, Couach is the last builder of large yachts in France, holding know-how in composite material and very high quality standards, which have been demonstrated through La Pellegrina".
"The shipyard is offering unmatched skills, vertically integrated, that allow us to tackle other industries such as Jet Plane furniture building," he added.
Couach has endured a rocky spell over the past few years. It was liquidated in 2009, secured “safeguard” proceedings to allow it to continue operating in 2012 and suffered setbacks in between. Previous owner, Fabrice Vial, was tragically killed in Porto Vecchio, Corsica, in 2011, leading to the withdrawal of a major order for the 2nd 5000 Fly and actions to collect a €9 million down-payment. The owner went back on his decision in March this year, offering the yard a rare sign of encouragement and alleviating it of the need to repay the initial deposit.
Couach currently employs 210 people at its yard at Gujan-Mestras, near Bordeaux. It was acquired by French company, Nepteam, in 2011, which has invested €40 million in the yard over the past two years.