They may not be in the headlines of today’s economic news, but these companies also play a major role in Bordeaux’s economy.
In line with French Tech and the race for innovation, economic news usually focuses on young, innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups, and the surrounding ecosystem.
This reflects Bordeaux’s new dimension as an increasingly attractive region, drawing a new generation of talent, developing entrepreneurship, and boosting the economy.
Though they may have lower profiles, major companies with internationally-recognized expertise also contribute significantly to the vitality and rich fabric of the Gironde economy.
Here are some to discover or rediscover:
Serma Technologies, the most “electronic”
Leader in high-end electronics
800 employees including 160 in Pessac
12 industrial sites
€85 million in revenue
Created in 1991 upon the departure of IBM’s electronic component qualification center, Serma Technologies specializes in high-constraint electronic technology
This group which employs over 800 engineers and technicians has become Europe’s leading independent laboratory for electronic components expertise.
It provides consulting, expertise, analysis, tests and evaluations for components, boards, and systems bought by prestigious companies such as Airbus, SNCF, Renault, Fiat, Alstom, Bombarider, Siemens, EDF, Safran, Thalès, Eurocopter, the CNES, Bosch, Mercedes…
Its strength lies in its unique one-stop shop service: through its cross-disciplinary expertise, the company masters the entire operational chain and works with a wide range of sectors including aeronautics, railways, space, automobiles, oil and gas exploration, manufacturing…
More than 600 clients rely on Serma Technologies for services. The group has eleven sites, three in Germany and eight in France, the largest of which is the Pessac site.
The group is composed of several subsidiaries, and the newest one is Serma Safety & Security, “S3.” Founded in September 2016, S3 specializes in systems security, “a major piece of tomorrow’s market,” according to the group’s directors, with few firms currently providing this sort of solutions.
S3 aims to work specifically on security for connected devices, which do not yet possess their own security standards, and has just announced the acquisition of the Rennes-based Opale Security company, recognized for its expertise in the field of security for connected devices.
AIO, the “leanest”
A European provider of industrial ingenuity
30 positions to be filled by the end of 2017
The European karakuri kaizen leader is French and is based in Bordeaux:
AIO, a company founded in 1978 dedicated to manufacturing mechanical components for industry.
In 2011, it opted to specialize in karakuri kaizen, making it the only provider in France.
Since then it has seen double-digit growth and won over leading players in the automobile and aeronautics industries.
What exactly is karakuri kaizen?
An original Japanese concept and registered trademark, it strives to improve working conditions and employee productivity on industrial production lines.
It consists of simple mechanical systems, ingenuity, and simplification of zero-energy processes. In a nutshell, it is “ecological and flexible” trends which have re-emerged in the era of “the factory of the future.”
The group’s unwavering success for five years led it to move to larger premises in 2015 and recruit two to three employees a month.
It has also continued its development abroad, opening locations in England, Germany and Turkey so far.
Cap Ingelec, the most “cloud”
Expert in energy performance
€40 million in revenue
5,000 projects carried out
A company created in 1992 in Saint-Jean d’Illac, Cap Ingelec is now one of the ten largest technical engineering companies in France.
It quickly became specialized in energy performance and now counts 250 employees, including 150 engineers. It is now the leader in data center construction, giving it great potential on a global level.
The company has concentrated its international expansion in Southern Europe and Africa where current standards are similar to those in France and where the market for data centers is rapidly developing.
Cap Ingelec also focuses on renewable energy, another future market, and carries out many projects where its expertise in energy efficiency is naturally of great use.
TCS, the most “punctual”
At the cutting edge of small package delivery
1,000 partner drivers
€84 million revenue
1.5 million packages delivered a month
Today the group counts 500 employees, 150 of its own vehicles, and over 1,500 partners, with clients from the sectors of banking (50%), health, administration, optics, and pharmaceutical laboratories.
It owes its success to its original organization principle: one-day delivery with regular, set pickup and delivery times (determined by the client) with a punctuality of 10 minutes for national delivery and 3 minutes for regional delivery.
Service is guaranteed to over 35,000 delivery points a day.
Its latest diversification step: maintenance and repair of electric and electronic devices.
This activity usually demands a very rapid response time, so TCS guarantees that the electronic pieces requiring repair will be delivered to repair company warehouses and logistical platforms by 8am and if necessary they may even be delivered directly to repairmen’s vehicles.
Hyd&Au, the most “mechatronic”
A French heavyweight in hydraulics
+ 200 clients
In 1977, when the ATH (Hydraulics Techniques Applications) company was created in Libourne, it was the first independent distributor of hydraulics systems specialized in the trade of European brands: Volvo, Hydraulics, UCC, Sauer, Bosch.
In its early years the company grew by gradually expanding its range of services to include studies, hydraulic systems design, repairs and technical assistance.
It soon became a benchmark in the hydraulics market.
Then, starting in the 2000s ATH’s growth was driven by the acquisition of companies providing complementary expertise and through developing a regional network.
2011 marked the creation of the Hyd&Au Group which counted 75 employees, while 2013 represented a decisive turning point for the company as it would become one of the leading mechatronics providers in France through the acquisition of Fluidsap, a Paris-based company with over 200 employees with sites in France, Belgium and Luxemburg.
Its core business is to identify and design hydraulic equipment to help put machines in motion.
Today the Hyd&Au group has a revenue of €50 million, 300 employees and 24 sites – twenty in France and four abroad – and it aims to accelerate international development, first expanding to India and the United Arab Emirates.
Pena, the most “recyclable”
Waste, a non-fatal material
€67 million in revenue
200,000 tons of waste treated per year
In 1955, “Gilbert Pena Establishments” originally carried out metal recovery and bronze refining.
In the 1980s the company began its diversification by introducing a non-hazardous waste collection service.
It was during the 1990s that its diversification toward environment-related activities was firmly set in motion, helping the Pena company to accelerate growth despite the presence of two heavy hitters in the market: la Lyonnaise and the Générale des Eaux at the time.
Pena was able to establish itself as a player in non-hazardous waste sorting, recycling and reclamation by developing innovative processes:
- theAdonis process for recycling organic waste, which relies on intensive composting in enclosed areas
- the Corisprocess for recycling bulky items and non-hazardous waste and turning them into solid fuel (CSR) with a high calorific value, popular among manufacturers such as cement factories (to replace coal, for example)
- the Aromprocess for recycling household waste, which combines compost production with CSR in order to recover and reuse 80% of the waste
and positioning itself in key or niche markets such as space waste in Kourou or electrical or electronic waste.
Today Pena groups together 10 companies and has 180 employees, including a R&D laboratory employing twelve people.
200,000 tons of waste are treated a year with a recycling rate of 97.5%.
The coming years will be dedicated to creating an electric transformer dismantling facility and a platform for dismantling and recycling pleasure crafts.
Sources: press, companies, Invest in Bordeaux