Published: Thursday, 01 August 2013
Mike Fulton

The Commercial Court of Bordeaux has approved plans by Couach to continue trading after the French yard filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2012. "This is good news for the company, as it shows that our creditors and shareholders have confidence in us," CEO Christophe Kloeckner said.

Couach Emerges From Bankruptcy Protection 1

Couach was taken over by Nepteam, a group of French industrial investors, in November 2011.

In financial difficulties, the company applied for a 'safeguard procedure' with the Bordeaux Commercial. The French equivalent of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this safeguard procedure gave a company protection from its main creditors and consequent bankruptcy.

In March 2013, Couach confirmed the sale of a 50-metre yacht to a Russian customer, who had initially rescinded his purchase on grounds of late delivery. This meant that a €9 million down payment no longer needed to be reimbursed. 

"The main debt of the boatyard remains the €3 million demanded by the Banque Lyonnaise, owner of some of the industrial tools. It is currently before the courts and I am hopeful that a legal decision will be reached this year," added Kloeckner.

With a firm commitment from Nepteam, which owns 100 per cent of Couach's shares and has invested €40 million in the yard over the past two years, the administrator, staff, creditors and Commercial Court were all satisfied with the content of the plan to continue operations.

The plan covers global debts of €5 million, which will be reimbursed over a maximum 10-year period.

Couach currently employs 210 people at its yard at Gujan-Mestras, near Bordeaux. The company will present two new models at the Cannes Boat Show in September - the 26-metre FLY, which has already been sold to a Spanish customer, and a 13-metre yacht tender.