Future of Zodiac and Avon RIBs in doubt
Motorboat & Yachting: Two major RIB brands could disappear from the market after Z Marine, the parent company of Zodiac and Avon RIBs, was declared insolvent.
The future of the Zodiac and Avon RIB brands is under threat, with parent company Z Marine declared insolvent earlier this month (April 2). The French manufacturer was named in insolvency proceedings at the Commercial Tribunal of Nanterre, our sister publication IBI reports.
It is understood that receivership proceedings have begun, as the company enters a six-month period of official observation. Investment fund OpenGate Capital currently owns Z Marine and made severe changes last year, which involved making 500 workers redundant.
Production was also relocated to Tunisia, following the closure of Z Marine’s facilities in Rochefort and Saint Jean d’Illac. Launched at the 1969 London Boat Show, the Avon Searider is believed to be the world’s first commercial RIB.
Both Avon and Zodiac remain popular brands in the RIB world, attracting a strong volume of orders at the recent Paris Boat Show, so hopes are high that a suitable buyer can be found in the coming months.
UPDATE: Z Marine North America has moved to distance itself from its French counterpart. The US-based division was keen to stress that it is financially independent and trading healthily.