1 / A2S just celebrated its five years of existence. Where is the business?
Nicolas Sevestre: We have successfully completed an intense phase of conquest in international markets (see the interview of October 30, 2015 of the Sage Institute). A strategy that allowed us to take strong international references with oil companies such as Total and Shell, the steelmaker Tata Steel or the Castel group, which specializes in the food. In addition, A2S, which started its business as a distributor of materials and equipment in the field of safety of industrial explosive atmospheres and environments, has also taken a position in manufacturing. As such, we have developed our own products from our R & D. Those products retained attention of Bouygues SA and SPIE through tunnels modernization programs in France. We have concluded our first major contracts in France.
2 / Will development in France become a priority?
N.S.: Absolutely! Our desire is to grow nationally with specific means as we start again a phase of exploration and conquest. However, this phase will run quite differently from our actions abroad. On the one hand the markets will be more focused: we aim this time manufacturers and integrators for Hazardous Areas (custom machinery, pumps, fans, AC systems, air treatment…), for which we have dedicated products and certifications, and customers in various industries and applications such as the paper , chemical, food, pharmaceutical and oil&gas. Second, we will strengthen our teams to ensure sales and technical support dedicated to the French market.
3 / Why this difference in approach?
NS: France is a market whose culture and habits are very different than the international markets in which we operate. Aspects requirements, innovations, supports pre- and post-sales are essential in our country. Customers want to know in detail the technical aspects of an offer, which is less pronounced in emerging countries. In addition, France is a mature market where the development strategy is primarily to stand out of a major existing.
4 / How do you plan to stand out?
NS: We offer the market a wide range of products and above all we are able to provide customized solutions, which is possible only by mastering manufacturing. A2S has five product families ranging from the detection and fire alarm to control as well as telephone and communications, lighting and installation equipment. We have also developed a new ranges of Flameproof products such as compressors, heaters or customizable enclosures. Our website allows you to view and learn about our core products (Category: Products and Systems) of which over two thirds are from our manufacturing operations, which is essential to be credible, especially in the world of solutions measured.
5 / Can you give concrete examples?
NS: A customer wants to replace junction boxes in its electrical installation that are not the standard size of market products. Another client wants to replace a pressurized cabinet (Ex p) that contains helideck communication devices but the company that had provided this material no longer exists. In both cases, the customer has provided the plans of existing equipment and we were able to reproduce the enclosures and boxes identically. Our strength lies in our ability to adapt to customer needs and flexibility to provide unique pieces when it comes to custom made or large series regardless of the degree of complexity. The industrial part of A2S allows it to respond to the many specific requirements by adapting production lines.
6 / In addition to customized products and systems, which solutions or services apart from your competitors?
Take the case of compressor manufacturers that wish to develop their range of flameproof certified materials. This represents a very important cost of R & D and certification because you have to mobilize technical and human resources on one or two years. A2S offers them a its expertise, its “ready to use” solutions and its quality certification to make it possible easily. This offers both flexible and competitive enables them to save time and cost in terms of development and approaches from a certification office. This certification aspect, few players on the market support it.
7 / You length about your strategy on the French market. What position will you adopt now internationally?
NS: We do not put the international side, on the contrary, because we want to consolidate the our positions. But we will not, for the moment, attack new markets, even if other countries than those in which we operate are of interest, for example in Asia. Furthermore, we may, from France, working with procurement platforms of customers who operate internationally, for African markets such as we already do for a customer in Geneva. The continuation of our rootedness in France, from where, do not forget, many export projects, is absolutely not incompatible with A2S’s international development.