Profoundly transformed over the last two years, the company has a clear roadmap for 2025 and has the means to achieve its ambitions. Its objective: to be a central player in the recovery of the aeronautics sector.
How is the company positioned today?
Thierry Mootz: We are a leading equipment manufacturer and hold strategic positions in key segments of the aerospace supply chain: No. 1 independent company worldwide for aircraft doors and a structuring player in fuselages, No. 1 worldwide for avionics racks, No. 2 worldwide for electrical harnesses, and No. 1 in Europe for satellite cabling. Our strength lies in working with the largest manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, Bombardier and Embraer. For example, we manufacture the doors for the A320, as well as those for the 787 and 777F. Our racks and harnesses equip the A320, A350 and A400M. Our solutions are proven. This is why we regularly win new contracts, both with major clients and with disruptive players, such as the new programs of Dassault Aviation and the start-up Heart Aerospace launched in 2021. Today, our two divisions, Aerostructures and Interconnection Systems, operate in markets worth $80 billion and $5 billion, respectively: the opportunities are therefore real and the teams are working to strengthen our positions.
How healthy is the Group?
T. M.: Like the rest of our sector, the Company was of course strongly impacted by the Covid crisis, which we managed from a health and operational standpoint. But Latecoere, a century-old company, has overcome many other turbulences in its history and, above all, has solid assets to get through this very special period. Since 2020, we have been supported by our reference shareholder, Searchlight Capital Partners, which provides the necessary resources for the development of the company. In 2021, the Group was able to carry out a capital increase of more than €220 million, enabling it to invest in the technologies of tomorrow and seize market opportunities. In the summer of 2021, for the first time, we brought together the design offices and R&T teams of the two divisions at a new Toulouse site. The two industrial operations departments are now also on the same site, as well as the programs and sales teams. We are ready for the market rebound.
– For his first trip as Chief Executive Officer, Thierry Mootz carried out a managerial safety visit to the Gimont site (France) – “safety first”.
How does the company take part in the consolidation of the sector?
T. M.: Our ambition is based on a mix of organic growth and transformative acquisitions. And we aren’t wasting any time. In 2021, we made several acquisitions on the European and American continents, which will strengthen our skills and our geographical footprint. The EWIS activities of Bombardier in Mexico, Technical Airborne Components, the Belgian player in the connecting rod market, Shimtech de Mexico in the composites segment, and lastly the Spanish company MADES, which manufactures electronic products, all these acquisitions significantly strengthen our ability to support our customers and offer innovative solutions. We were among the first to roll out our strategic external growth plan and 2022 must continue this movement.
What is the contribution of the teams?
T. M.: Our Executive Committee moves forward in sync and draws on the experiences and backgrounds of each individual, in the industrial sector and beyond. And of course, we are fortunate to be able to draw on the diversity of talents that make up Latecoere. Our employees are based on four continents, in 15 countries, on our sites located in the immediate vicinity of customers. It is an incredible wealth. Our employees are the driving force of the Group, so it is natural that we attach special importance to them. We strive to provide optimal working conditions, particularly in terms of workplace safety, an area in which we have achieved excellent results: employee health is our top priority. We also focus on skills development and internal mobility. Faced with the challenges of the sector, the challenge lies in our ability to adapt and strengthen our teams, in particular through the recruitment of talents who will actively participate in the Group’s innovation and competitiveness efforts. I want to take this opportunity to further diversify the profile of our teams – this is key.
– On board the Group’s new flagship in Toulouse (France), Thierry Mootz brings together the teams involved in the transformation of Latecoere.
What is your roadmap for them?
T. M.: The company has a new, more ambitious purpose: “serving aerospace with innovative solutions for a sustainable world”. It is both a promise to our customers and an inexhaustible source of motivation for our teams. Launched simultaneously, the “Ambition 2025” plan focuses very pragmatically on the Group’s growth and profitability. It is based on three pillars. Firstly, our talents, as mentioned above, draw on the Company’s values – boldness, commitment, excellence – to meet the challenge. Secondly, innovation to continue to offer differentiating and more environmentally-friendly products. Thirdly, operational excellence, because the priority given to the needs of the customer is our DNA as an equipment manufacturer. Their satisfaction is at the heart of our organization.
How does Latecoere intend to meet the major challenges of the 21st century?
T. M.: The major challenge is decarbonized aviation. The sector is fully mobilized, reflecting the actions carried out by the members of Gifas, our professional federation, Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales. Latecoere is part of this movement. Our teams are working on composite structures and on-board fiber optic applications with a view to improving aircraft performance and reducing the weight of aircraft. In 2021, we also joined the SpacEarth initiative which brings together the French space industry with the aim of positioning space at the service of life on Earth. Lastly, Latecoere has always been in step with the times, a responsible player that has been able to support society’s changes in each era. As such, we recently committed to supporting the ten principles of the United Nations’ Global Compact concerning respect for human rights, international labor standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption. And we are giving concrete expression to this strong commitment through a “sustainable development” roadmap, which we will implement during 2022.