Groupe Trigano

  • The group
  • Message from the Chairman

Trigano's sales increased very slightly in 2018/2019, while your market shares are stable in a rapidly-growing European market. How do you explain this phenomenon?

François Feuillet:New motorhome registrations rose in all European countries except Norway and Sweden. However, distribution networks have reduced their stocks in order to avoid having to grant discounts on old engines (Euro 6b) after the arrival of new, less polluting chassis (Euro 6d). This phenomenon explains the marked discrepancy between the increase in the number of registrations of our group's brands and the evolution of our turnover. To explain the stagnation of our market shares, we have to take into account the unfavourable mix effect for Trigano resulting from the growth differential between the German market and the rest of Europe. Indeed, our presence in Germany is still significantly lower than in other European countries. Beyond that, the distribution networks had a stock level of Euro 6b vehicles of our brands that was much lower than that of competing products.

Brexit is rightly a concern for many companies. Can you tell us more about what is at stake and the possible consequences for Trigano?

François Feuillet: Our exposure to the UK market is significant as we generate more than 15% of our sales there and our margins are higher than those generated on the continent due to the specificities of this market. The course of the negotiations that will eventually lead to the exit of the United Kingdom is far from ideal, as it has already caused a great deal of anxiety among the strata of the population that make up our customer base and an increase in the cost of recreational vehicles due to the fall of the pound sterling against the euro. Against this background, however, registrations of new motorhomes rose while those of caravans fell significantly. This resilience in the motorhome market is the result of an aggressive sales policy that has led to lower margins for both distributors and manufacturers. In addition, as everywhere in Europe, there was a general stock clearance of distribution networks. Trigano was therefore doubly penalised during the year in terms of lost sales volumes but also, for its distribution subsidiary, in terms of margins.

Trigano has greater financing capacity. What will be your external growth policy?

François Feuillet:Unfortunately, it is no longer possible for us to carry out major operations at the risk of infringing European competition rules. As far as motorhome manufacturers are concerned, we can now only invest in small companies in the hope of developing them. Nevertheless, we can envisage external growth operations in a logic of vertical integration, such as suppliers of strategic components for Trigano or distributors of motorhomes. In addition, we remain on the lookout for acquisition opportunities in the areas of trailer and leisure vehicle accessories.

Your main competitor has switched to the US flag, what are the consequences for the European market?

François Feuillet: Hymer, which has always been a respectable competitor, will benefit from Thor's financial strength and management quality. However, the synergies generated by this concentration do not seem to me to be important for the European part because of the heterogeneity of the product ranges.

Some Trigano subsidiaries generate operating income in excess of 10% of their sales. Is it possible to bring all of the group's business units up to this level?

François Feuillet: We have identified many areas for improving profitability. Specific programs are being implemented in several business units, in particular to improve plant and purchasing productivity.

You have announced that you want to move up in 2020... When will the handover take place?

François Feuillet: I have not yet set a date for my departure as President of the Executive Board of Trigano, but I have no intention of relinquishing control of the company and my family will remain majority shareholder in Trigano for many years to come. Since 2016, Trigano's governance has been changed to a structure with an Executive Board and Supervisory Board. When I "leave", I intend to join Trigano's Supervisory Board and take over the leadership of the Strategic Committee within the Board and thus continue to be a driving force in Trigano's development.

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