M&A: Fonte Ardennaise escapes the crisis by diversifying



All is not black in the kingdom of the foundry, as the series closures announced in recent months might suggest. The proof: from the Ardennes, the group Ardennes cast iron continues its development by bringing a tenth plant into its fold. In this case, Socometa, located in Confolens, north of Angoulême (Charente), a foundry employing 70 people and achieving 9 million euros in turnover on average.

With this operation, the family ETI, historically specialized in cast iron, once again widens the range of its know-how. Every year, Socometa transforms some 800 tonnes of aluminum and 30 tonnes of copper alloys for the automotive industry, electrical industry in particular, food industry, medical, etc.

question of balance

“Thanks to our diversification strategy, carried out through buyouts, we are today the leader in the industrial subcontracting sector, in France and in Europe”, emphasizes Nicolas Grosdidier, Chairman of the Group’s Management Board. This external growth policy has enabled Fonte Ardennaise to balance its activities around ten sectors.

The most important, the manufacture of industrial pumps and valves, accounts for only a quarter of turnover, ahead of that of industrial vehicles (19% of activity) or transmissions (17%) and far ahead of appliances. heating (5%) “This distribution between activities allowed us to escape the crises, in 2008, as today. For example, the difficulties of the automobile have little or no impact on our group. Our No. 1 client represents 8.5% of turnover; the tenth, less than 2%, ”explains the leader.

The international pillar

The other pillar of the sustainability of the group, soon to be 100 years old, lies in its international strategy. Since 2007, it has had a site in Serbia, where it employs 140 people, then in 2011, a foundry in Seville. At the same time, it has strengthened its logistics capabilities to be able to deliver quickly, anywhere in the world.

Result: twenty years later, theexport represents 56% of turnover of the company, 250 million euros on average. “Our development is also linked to the control of our capital, which is 100% family owned. Admittedly, our growth was measured, according to our financial capacities, but we were able to decide on our strategic orientations”, analyzes Nicolas Grosdidier. La Fonte Ardennaise produces 103,000 tons of parts each year and employs 1,400 employees.

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