At the end of August 2018, after nine months of negotiation, Bombardier chose its boiler parts subcontractor – the French company Lauak – to take over its aviation piping and tubing business. The contract will allow the Canadian company to refocus on its core business and the French company to have a foothold in North America.
Portrait of Lauak
Created in 1975 at Ayherre in the Atlantic Pyrenees, Lauak was first known for manufacturing boiler parts to become, after more than 40 years of activity and six acquisitions since 2010, a significant partner for the aviation industry. A supplier of primary aviation components and subassemblies for aircraft structures and engines, the Basque company has five plants in France and one in Portugal. With 1550 employees and its various skills (boilermaking, machining, piping, welding, surface treatment), Lauak has among its customers large aerospace manufacturers (Dassault, Airbus, Embraer, IAI), aerostructure companies (Stelia, Latécoere, Daher) and equipment manufacturers (Safran and Liebherr).
A win-win contract
Out of a dozen competitors, it was Mikael Charritton’s company that was chosen to take over Bombardier’s piping and tubing operations. This is great news for Lauak which has been wanting to set up in North America for three years. As a result of this agreement, it is committed to retain at its Mirabel site the 90 employees of Bombardier, as well as to build a plant in France (next to its head office with the prospect of 50 jobs created over 18 months) as well as one in Mexico. What for? To be able to honour the commercial contract proposed by Bombardier – a seven-year contract that is expected to raise $25 million in 2018 and $40 million in 2021 – which ensures the aviation manufacturer will be able to “benefit from high-quality components for its programs.”
A golden bridge to America
With this new supply contract ($25 million in 2018) Lauak’s export sales are rising from 10% to 25% and should give a real boost to its North American operations. Indeed, Mikael Charritton is not hiding his ambitions to offer his services to Boeing as well as to its various equipment manufacturers, in addition to doubling his sales within five years, to reach €300 million by 2022. Achievement of this ambitious goal is driven as much by external growth (for example, Nimitech in 2018 to develop the design of composite assemblies in aviation and aerospace) as by internal growth: opening of a new plant in Portugal at the end of 2019 (the first plant in the country of Les Oillets was created in 2003 near Lisbon and currently employs more than 500 people) which is expected to create close to 250 jobs and focus on manufacturing simple elementary parts as well as assemblies for Stelia and Dassault. However, Mikael Charritton is not stopping there – he plans to conquer, within five years, another continent: Asia.