By Olivier Voituriez
It’s the end of the road for Rodriguez Group. According to a report published today on www.lemarin.fr, Cannes’ Commercial Tribunal decided on July 22 to wind up the French Rodriguez Group-SNP Holding and its subsidiary, SNP Boat Service, in protection from bankruptcy procedures since January 9, 2014.
The Cannes-based company had been in financial straits for several years; on March 31 it was in the red to the tune of €96.5m.
Even though the payroll had been streamlined (20 departures in 2013) Rodriguez still had a staff of 50, excluding those at its subsidiary Camper & Nicholsons International.
Shares on the stock market were suspended on July 21 at the request of Rodriguez. The last quoted price was 90 centimes, giving the company a value of €11.25m.
The winding up marks the end of what Rodriguez was good at: yacht brokering, with some 2,000 yachts sold over 40 years.
The economic model was selling to end clients yachts built by different Italian yards, spearheaded before the 2008 crisis by the Mangusta brand by Overmarine for which Rodriguez had exclusive sales rights.
Overmarine terminated the contract at the end of August 2010. The Cannes-based company looked around for other suppliers; contracts were signed with Sanlorenzo, Cerri and Italyachts, but they were not enough to save Rodriguez.
The company was also piling up a stock of second-hand yachts bought back from clients against a new order.
Despite the winding up of the holding, the Gérard Rodriguez yard and ship chandlery based at Golfe Juan continue to operate successfully in mid-season.
Camper & Nicholsons International, brokerage and the services subsidiary will be sold off by the commercial tribunal when the appeals period expires, according to Le Marin.
But the involvement of different companies, ownership of brands and rights, and fiscal debt of a group that has never been particularly transparent have turned away a good number of potential buyers.
Le Marin reports that Éric de Saintdo, boss of Rodriguez from 2011 to 2013, is negotiating the only firm offer for Camper & Nicholsons from Italian-Swiss investors.