Nimbus Group was founded in 1968 in Långedrag, outside Gothenburg, where the head office is still located. A year later, the first Nimbus boat named Nimbus 26 was introduced, which the following year received an award for the best boat of the year. Nimbus developed into a premium brand through high-quality products and successful collaborations, for example with Björn Borg in the 1980s and with the Italian designer Nuccio Bertone in 1998. The customer base was also expanded geographically during the period up to the turn of the millennium. For example, an annual convoy of new Nimbus boats sailed from Långedrag to Bergen in Norway.
In 2000, the Nova R series were introduced, which were the first serial-produced models with step hulls. Four years later, serial production of vacuum-injected hulls was started in connection with the launch of the Nimbus 380. In 2008, Paragon Yachts was acquired, which was the first acquisition in modern times. One year later, Nimbus E-power was introduced with the launch of the fully electrically powered prototype Nova 27.
In 2012, Nimbus Group was hit by a number of adverse events. Due to the large fall in the global recreational boat market in connection with the financial crisis in 2008, Nimbus Group’s liquidity was strained. Dealers had been offered financing solutions for the sale of the boats, which in turn led to Nimbus Group suffering from a lack of liquidity when the demand for leisure boats fell. The declining demand led to Nimbus Group’s rdealers not being able to sell off the stock in the years after the financial crisis, which led to credit losses for Nimbus Group. Combined with the fact that the indebtedness was high even before the financial crisis, this led to Nimbus Group braking certain terms in its financing agreements and therefore was declared bankrupt in 2012.
The reorganization phase
Following the bankruptcy, a reorganization phase was initiated by the new owner, R12 Kapital AB. A number of initiatives were subsequently initiated to strengthen the Group’s financial position and to reduce exposure to fluctuations in demand. These initiatives included the introduction of a more conservative financing model for dealers. Other measures also included strengthening the balance sheet to reduce the share of fixed costs in production. During the period from 2012 to 2018, the product portfolio was updated in its entirety through the development of new boat models. During the period, Nimbus Group also expanded its dealer network.
Nimbus Group has been in a growth phase since 2018, partly through the acquisitions of Alukin Boats Sweden AB, an established manufacturer of aluminum boats, and Bella-Veneet Oy, with the Bella, Flipper, Aquador and Falcon brands.
The brands from Bella-Veenet, which accounted for 35% of net sales in 2019, are a significant part of today’s Nimbus Group. Bella was founded in Finland in 1970 by Raimo Sonninen, who owned the company all the way to the sale to Nimbus Group. In 1992, Bella-Veenet made its first acquisition through the acquisition of Flipper. In 2000, Bella-Veenet acquired the boat manufacturer Aquador. In 2017, production of the new boat brand Falcon started.
Growth is also taking place outside Europe
In 2017, for example, the Nimbus Group sold its first recreational motorboat in North America, and in 2019, recreational motorboats for SEK 54 million were sold in North America. Nimbus Group also sees opportunities to grow outside Europe and North America, primarily in Oceania and Asia.