From the sugar industry to offshore oil and gas, there's just one step, or almost... Relive the long, rich history of our group.

From a family group specialized in sugar production, BOURBON has become a pure player in marine services for the offshore oil and gas industry. The story of this transformation.


1948-1988: sugar cane, the 1st Group Engine

In 1948, Bourbon group was born from the merger of several family companies on the Reunion Island.


Their objective: stimulating the local sugar industry. Its markets at the time was sugar, but also rum, sold in metropolitan France.

As a sign of its origins, the Group took its name from the former name of the Reunion Island under the Old Regime and during the Restoration era: Bourbon Island.



1989-1999: The diversification era

Bourbon Group then began a commercial and geographic diversification into industrial fishing, supermarkets and dairy products initially and then in 1992, maritime activities.


As the years went by, this maritime calling asserted itself, as portrayed by the 1996 acquisition of the companies Les Abeilles (towing) and Setaf-Saget (dry bulk shipping).


In 1998, having become a conglomerate in sugar production, in maritime distribution and services, Bourbon Group went public, on the Second Market of the Paris Stock Exchange.


2000-2006: The critical refocusing

At the turn of the new millennium, the Group focused on its maritime activities, successively separating it from our:

  • milk and fruit juice activities,
  • historical agrifood activity,
  • supermarket activity.

Subsequently, Bourbon Group accelerated its refocusing on maritime services, as illustrated by the 2002 takeover of Havila Supply AS, renamed Bourbon Offshore Norway.


Starting in 2003, Bourbon Group successfully positioned itself in deepwater marine services in Brazil and the west coast of Africa (2003).


In 2005, Bourbon Group becomes BOURBON and moves its headquarters from Reunion Island to Paris.


The African continent was truly the group's springboard into the market of offshore marine services. As one of the leading international players in marine services, in 2006 BOURBON entered the SBF 120 index of the Paris Stock Exchange.


2007-2012: Specializing in marine services for offshore oil

BOURBON sells its port towage activity and positions itself on the market of Inspection, Maintenance and Repair (IMR) of offshore oil fields, through its Subsea Services Activity.


In 2008, convinced of the potential of the subsea services market, BOURBON acquired DNT Offshore, an Italian company specialized in operations involving ROVs in offshore oil fields.


The group then separated from its "ancillary" activities:

  • Bourbon Tay Ninh sugar refinery in Vietnam
  • Bulk transport,
  • etc.

and annonced its new strategic plan, BOURBON 2015 Leadership.


In 2011, the duties of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are separated. Mr Christian Lefèvre is appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer and Mr Jacques de Chateauvieux retains the Chairmanship of the Board of Directors. Mr Gaël Bodénès and Mr Laurent Renard as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer respectively.


In 2012, Bourbon Offshore Surf, historic group's affiliate, celebrates 40 years of professional client-focused service

Now a pure player in marine services for the offshore oil and gas industry, BOURBON announced in 2010 its strategic plan "BOURBON 2015 Leadership".


2013-2014: The action plan "Transforming for beyond" & the successful bid by JACCAR

BOURBON confirms investment of €500 million to order new vessels, third and final investment of the strategic plan "BOURBON 2015 Leadership Strategy".


In 2014, with the successful bid on BOURBON shares, JACCAR Holdings becomes the main shareholder of the company.


2015-2016: Resilient in a difficult market context, BOURBON becomes BOURBON Corporation

In an offshore oil sector marked by the drop of the barrel of oil, BOURBON is particularly resilient due to its operational performances, its controlled costs but also the end of its "Transforming for beyond" action plan, generating free cash-flow.


In 2016, BOURBON becomes BOURBON Corporation. 


2017-2020: The transformation

Financial restructuring and evolution of shareholding structure


In the midst of the crisis in the Offshore market, BOURBON signed a debt restructuring agreement with its creditor banks in mid-2017. With no positive sign of market recovery, the group reopened these negotiations in early 2018. And it is to protect the group's integrity that it requested the opening of reorganization proceedings for its two holding companies BOURBON Corporation and BOURBON Maritime in July 2019.

On December 23, 2019, the Commercial Court of Marseilles decided to sell the assets of BOURBON Corporation to Société Phocéenne de Participation (SPP), a company owned by a group of French banks* federating creditors representing 75% of the group's debt. SPP therefore acquired 100% of the assets of BOURBON Corporation (including the BOURBON brands) on January 10,2020, converting into capital approximately €1.4 billion in debt and €300 million in bonds. It thus becomes the group's new majority shareholder.

* BNP Paribas, Caisse Régionale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel Alpes Provence, Caisse Régionale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel de Paris et d’Ile de France, CM-CIC Investissement SCR, Crédit Lyonnais, Natixis and Société Générale.


Transformation plan

BOURBON announces its #BOURBONINMOTION strategic action plan in February 2018, enabling the group to meet the needs of competitiveness and the new requirements of its clients, in a market context that has put all players in the Oil & Gas industry to the test.

This plan is focused on 4 axes:

  • Adapt business models towards more services for the 3 stand-alone companies Bourbon Marine & Logistics, Bourbon Mobility and Bourbon Subsea Services
  • Reshape cost structure
  • Improve cash management and financial efficiency
  • Move towards a results, simplification and accountability oriented culture.

“The crisis has highlighted the need for a change of model, and that is what the #BOURBONINMOTION plan is all about," says Gaël Bodénès, Chairman of BOURBON Maritime.


Bourbon behind the scenes