Construction Navale
Allais, from crewboats to new horizons

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Allais, from crewboats to new horizons

Construction Navale

Long a crewboat specialist, Chantiers Allais, now part of the Efinor group, is shifting its focus to boats for the defence and security sectors.

A few weeks ago Cherbourg-based boatbuilder Chantiers Allais was taken over by Normandy-based diversified engineering group Efinor. A statement soon followed announcing that Allais planned to shift its focus to boats for the defence and security sectors, beginning with a family of aluminium-hulled interceptors and patrol boats ranging from 15 to 35 metres in length.

Chantiers Allais was established in Dieppe in 1984 by François Allais. In 2005, the company moved to premises on the Cherbourg naval base. Allais had considerable success with its Surfer and WindCrewSurfer crewboats for the offshore oil & gas industry, delivering a large number to operator Bourbon, the company’s main client. However, the crisis in offshore oil & gas led to a sudden fall in the orders received. After delivering some 300 boats, Allais, which employed up to 200 people five years ago, had slashed its workforce to just 76 in 2015 before going into receivership in March 2016. Six months later, Efinor decided to take over the boatbuilder. “My idea was to take over the yard and its team — the sheetmetal workers and welders are particularly skilled — for their acclaimed expertise and the fact that together they know how to build boats from A to Z. Another reason is that the facilities, infrastructure and management are very efficient,” said Efinor Chairman Fabrice Lepotier.

 

A Bourbon Surfer-type crewboat at the Allais yard in the 2000s (© French Navy)

A Bourbon Surfer-type crewboat at the Allais yard in the 2000s (© French Navy)

More focussed than ever on boatbuilding

Efinor, founded by Fabrice Lepotier 28 years ago, currently generates