France Country Report 2016

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Discovery Reports

Battery pioneer Saft fortifies Asian foothold

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 March, 2016, 5:17pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

Prospects gleam brightly for French industrial battery pioneer Saft as China's infrastructural sectors expand to support efforts towards continued economic growth. The strong demand for Saft batteries across the country's railway, aviation, metering, telecommunications and energy storage industries highlights Saft's well-entrenched market position.

"We are the world leader in high-performance battery systems for very challenging, customised niche applications - not for standard mass markets," says CEO Ghislain Lescuyer. "Our key differentiator is really our technologies, and we work closely with customers to make sure we meet their specifications."

More than 100 years of expertise designing and producing advanced technology batteries for industry - combined with key assets including a factory in Zhuhai and offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai - continue to strengthen Saft's local expansion in China and across the Asia-Pacific.

Saft's cutting-edge specialist batteries are at the forefront of technology, applied in heavy industries ranging from aviation and rail to telecommunications, military and space. The company invests approximately 10 per cent of its revenues in research and development. It also maintains a recycling programme across 35 countries - bolstering its reputation for reliable, innovative, safe and cost-efficient products.

In line with "Power 2020" - the company's strategic transformational plan - Saft targets revenues nearing US$1 billion and an EBITDA margin above 16 per cent in 2019. Eyeing to grow its 4,000-strong workforce, 14 production sites and 30 sales offices across five continents, the company aims to strengthen its Asia-Pacific presence. A new factory in Zhuhai planned for the second half of this year will double its China-based production capacity.

"Asia is clearly a target market for us, and the potential to provide industries with good solutions is huge," Lescuyer says. "We are ready to adapt. Our success in Asia will be driven by having the right people and expertise."