Dufour Company History
Pioneers for the past three decades, leader of the French marine industry, long famous, Dufour is at the forefront as the 2nd largest boat builder in the world.
The origins - 1964, Michel Dufour creates SARL "Stratifié Industriel". 1969, "Stratifié Industriel" takes the name of "Michel Dufour S.A" and Michel Dufour became President and Managing Director. Launched in 1965 and 1967, the Sylphe and the Arpège modles enjoyed huge success. In January 1974, Arpège number 1000 leaves the yard. After this the company went through some more difficult episodes leading to several successive buy-outs including one by Baron Bich in 1976.
In 1988 Olivier Poncin, the current president of the Dufour Group, takes over Dufour. He has plenty of unquestionable assets including long years of experience at all levels of the marine business: first of all sales, then construction - he was president for 5 years of the Kirié boatyard in Les Sables d'Olonne. The Dufour boatyard specialises in the more up-market segment.
1990 - Dufour launches the Prestige 54.
1991 - The Prestige range is expanded with the Prestige 48 and the Prestige 56. The company employs 70 people and its turnover tops 36 million francs. The transformation of the company is recognised by the profession which awards Dufour the "Grand Prix d'Excellence" during a ceremony at the 1992 Grand Pavois Boat Show in La Rochelle.
1994 - Dufour continues its niche policy. The company asserts its intention to concentrate on this indeed limited sector, but which generates a high profit potential. The company develops a range of catamarans, Nautitech, with the aim of creating a range of leisure craft for the general public.
1995 - Dufour launches a new range of yachts: the Classics, with their sober lines, elegant silhouette and spacious and comfortable interiors and with their renowned seakeeping qualities.
1996 - Dufour purchases the Gibert boatyard located in Marans, Charente Maritime. The company becomes the 2nd largest builder of recreational craft in France.
1997 - The group acquires the Port Pin Rolland Marina with 400 in-water berths and 200 dry berths on shore. In July, Dufour purchases the ACM boatyard, producers of powerboats, and creates the ACM Dufour Power brand.
1998 - Born out of an entirely new and revolutionary concept, the first "monomaran" destined for charter, the Atoll 43 arrives on the market. The company purchases the 16,000 m² factory in Mortagne-sur-Sèvre, built by Jeanneau in 1992, allowing it to build bigger boats.
1999 - The Gib'Sea 33, and the Duo, the fruit of a new concept "as fast under sail as quick under power" are presented at the Paris Boat Show. The Atoll range is extended with two new models, the 37 and 50 ft; the three models are renamed Atoll 3, Atoll 4 and Atoll 6, thus conveying the number of cabins available. Dufour buys into the capital of Kelt. The management team expands with the addition of an Industrial Manager, an Administrative and Financial Manager and a Marketing and Sales Manager. The company signs an agreement on the 35 hour week even before the trade agreement. It pursues its efforts of industrialisation of the production sites.
2000 - Dufour-Yachts Group forecasts a turnover of 650 million francs for the financial year ending in August and boasts a workforce of 800 employees. In June, Dufour launches the latest in the new Gib'Sea range, the 43 ft, reiterating the qualities of her "smaller sister", the Gib'Sea 33: maximum living space, ease of handling, efficient hull shape and sail plan. A new power catamaran of futuristic and elegant lines is under study and should see the light of day in the beginning of 2001. A vast 35 million franc programme for the redevelopment of the production facilities, aiming to extend the workshops and modernise the production lines, is currently nearing completion.
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