Drone maker Parrot to lay off staff

Parrot

I am a great Parrot fan, sometimes it feels as if they are forgotten heroes of a bygone age. They brought the first complex consumer drone to market. One that had vision sensors, sonar and later a GPS. This was available in a box on the high street for anyone to buy. Building a quadcopter was still very tricky in 2010, and DJI was nowhere to be seen.

We were delighted when Henri Sedoux chose our show to launch the Bebop in 2014.

This year the Parrot Disco flying wing was available here in South Africa at a large consumer electronics store. I don’t think I would ever have predicted an autonomous flying wing for the masses.

The contributions Parrot have made should not be underestimated.

In their preliminary results for the fourth quarter of 2016 released yesterday, Parrot said:

Reorganization of consumer drone operations

Parrot has taken on board the changes in the market for consumer drones and considers that the management of its development in this segment will involve an adaptation of its offer and a cost reduction phase. The action plan mapped out aims to adapt the level of resources deployed in line with the level of business achieved in 2016, focusing on four key areas: – Focusing the capacity for innovation on a reduced number of products with a commitment to taking a significant technological step forward; – Redeploying the product offering, capitalizing in particular on the expertise built up in commercial drones; – Realigning sales and marketing resources around the most profitable distribution channels and most promising markets; – Adjusting the support teams to the level of business. Consulting with its employee representatives, and following the legal framework applicable, Parrot is therefore envisaging a plan that could reduce its workforce by around 290 people out of a total of 840 staff currently working in the Group’s Drone activities. These reductions would concern employees both in France and internationally. In France, this proposal would result in around 150 positions being made redundant, taking into account in particular possible redeployments in the Group’s other activities.

The overall cost of this transition is estimated at around 45 million euros, including 20 million euros of asset writedowns, which will be provided for in the accounts for 2016. Commercial drones: continued investments The commercial drone business (mapping / monitoring, agriculture and inspection) has continued to develop. The range of commercial drones, services and solutions has been rationalized and has continued to be further strengthened. In 2017, Parrot aims to accelerate its growth and continue moving forward with its investment plan, capitalizing on – as in the past – each subsidiary’s assets, while at the same time promoting a vertical approach, adapted for certain customer segments looking for a complete, integrated offering, which Parrot has the means to serve effectively.

Good luck to those that depart and to Parrot in the future.