The acquisition of Aubert & Duval, a specialist producer of advanced material solutions including metal powders, by Airbus, Safran and Tikehau Capital has been finalised. Aubert and Duval was formerly part of the alloys branch of France’s Eramet Group.
“The acquisition of Aubert & Duval will ensure the national and European sovereignty of our strategic programmes developing disruptive civil and military engines, and secure our critical parts and materials supply chain,” stated Olivier Andriès, CEO, Safran. “I am confident the new team will carry through the transformation project to get this leading French industry player back on track.”
Aubert & Duval is a strategic supplier of critical parts and materials to customers in the aerospace, defence, nuclear and medical industries. The company generates reported annual revenues in the region of €550 million and employs 3,700 people, mostly in France. Its experience in specialty steels and superalloys – and its more recently acquired expertise in titanium – are crucial to the aerospace, transportation, energy, defence and medical markets.
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“Completion of this acquisition represents a crucial step towards the creation of a leading European player in critical parts and materials, equipped to compete globally and to support the aerospace and defence industry, thereby reducing geopolitical risks of supply,” added Guillaume Faury, CEO, Airbus. “Airbus will provide its full support to Aubert & Duval as it executes its ambitious transformation plan.”
Marwan Lahoud, chairman – private equity, Tikehau Capital, stated, “The acquisition of Aubert & Duval reflects the quickening pace of transformation and consolidation in the aerospace sector. Tikehau Capital is proud to be aiding the company’s recovery and the development of its industrial expertise alongside Airbus and Safran. Aubert & Duval is a strategic player vital to maintaining France and Europe’s industrial independence.”
This marks the latest in a series of initiatives in recent years to support and strengthen France’s aerospace sector, notably through the Ace Aéro Partenaires investment fund set up in 2020 and handled by alternative asset management firm Tikehau Capital with the backing of the French government, which retains a golden share in Aubert & Duval company in order to protect its strategic interests.
Alongside this change, Bruno Durand, has been appointed CEO of Aubert & Duval, effective April 28, 2023. Durand, commented, “A new chapter is beginning for Aubert & Duval, for both its staff and its customers. Our new shareholders, who are committed to a long-term vision, all share a single objective: to make Aubert & Duval the leading European supplier to the aerospace, defence and energy industries. We face major challenges, in particular the challenge of decarbonising our products and developing the circular economy as we work to support the industrial sectors we supply. I understand the importance of the responsibility that has been entrusted to me, and I am looking forward to tackling these challenges alongside everyone in the company.”
Durand began his career in 1984 at the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance. In 1989, he joined PSA (now Stellantis), working in its finance and production departments before becoming production manager in 1994 and then vice president, purchasing, for the exhausts branch of automotive equipment and component supplier ECIA.
Bruno Durand joined Valeo in 1998 as VP – Industrial Operations and Purchasing before being appointed Chief Operating Officer of SAMAS France in 2001. He moved to Safran in 2005, where he was VP – Purchasing at Labinal (now Safran Electrical & Power) and, a few months later, deputy CEO. He was subsequently appointed VP – Supply Chain at Snecma (now Safran Aircraft Engines) in 2009 before joining Sagem (now Safran Electronics & Defense) in 2012 as Vice President, Industrial Operations. He was appointed VP – Industrial Operations and Supply Chain at Safran Aircraft Engines in 2014, then Safran Executive Vice President, Production, Purchasing & Performance in 2020. In May 2022, he left this post to take charge of the Aubert & Duval transformation project with Safran’s CEO.