M2i beats production records at Salin-de-Giraud and adds investment

success story
M2i beats production records at Salin-de-Giraud and adds investment
Philippe Guerret, CEO de M2i group
26 October 2022 / Eco-Industries, invest in provence

The modernization of the industrial facility continues

The French company M2i, which took over the Solvay Organics France fine chemicals factory in Salin-de-Giraud west of Marseille almost a decade ago, has recorded double-digit growth over the past five years.

Against the backdrop of the national reindustrialization initiative encouraged by the French government and massive private-sector investment in cleantech in France (€2 billion in the first half of 2022, according to a recent analysis by EY and France Invest), the M2i group is continuing its remarkable development. The innovative health services company, which was launched in 2012, is focused on two main areas of activity: the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients used to produce a wide range of medicines and the production of natural pheromones that replace pesticides for protecting plants and crops.

Three M2i group’s innovative projects have received grants under the France Relance economic renewal plan, and the company has invested €2.7m to upgrade its facility in Salin-de-Giraud. Provence Promotion has been providing support for the company as its modernization initiatives lay the groundwork for an even brighter future at their 3.5-hectare industrial site in Provence.

The M2i site in Salin-de-Girard is currently responsible for the group’s annual production of 65 tons of complex molecules and pharmaceutical products. This number should be significantly higher when the factory’s new continuous production line goes into service in 2024.

“We were successful in three calls for projects under the France Relance plan. These subsidies directly benefit the Salin-de-Giraud site as we aim to improve the industrial facilities and increase and diversify production,” explains Johann Fournil, Communications and Partnerships Director for the M2i group.

Amid the Covid crisis in 2020, the M2i group received support from the French government to relocate the production of an anesthetic molecule widely used in intensive care units to the Salin-de-Giraud site. In 2021, the group expanded its strategy to include the creation of an innovative production unit. Along with producing new active ingredients, this €2.7 million investment plan will implement new processes that consume less energy and optimize the use of solvents at the site. These green measures are part of the company’s broader sustainable development program.

The project to revitalize Salin’s historical pharmaceutical sector (there have been €15 million in investments since the takeover) has been complemented by the company’s expertise and innovation in biocontrols, which are natural pheromone-based solutions that are designed to replace insecticides and pesticides to protect plants and crops and thus better protect the environment. This activity now represents more than 65% of the company’s revenues.

A successful industrial conversion to green chemistry

Founded at the end of 2012 by three partners – the brothers Philippe Guerret (CEO) and Olivier Guerret (Vice President, Operations), as well as Bruno Gény (Vice President, Finance), the M2i group aims to leverage the territory’s existing expertise and industrial assets in the field of traditional fine chemistry for a successful reconversion to the high-tech green chemistry of the future.

The company offers an entire range of pheromone-based solutions intended for the protection of plants and crops. These pheromones replicate scents that either repel or trap insects and pests. By diffusing them at agricultural sites, the products limit damage and diseases at vegetable gardens, crop fields, orchards, and green spaces. They even have a pheromone for pine forests to combat the invasion of processionary caterpillars.

The history of the M2i group and the development of its industrial site in Provence

The M2i group was initially structured around two acquisitions: a research laboratory in Lacq in the west of France that was formerly known as Holis Technologies and the declining Solvay Organics France pharmaceutical production site in Salin-de-Giraud. By acquiring another site in Parnac in the center of France in 2016, the founders achieved a complete integration of their value chain, from the synthesis and formulation of molecules to the production of their products to distribution in France and, above all, worldwide as the company generates 75% of its revenues from exports.

“We had a head start thanks to the research and expertise of the French industry. Ten years ago, our capacity for innovation enabled us to position ourselves in emerging market sectors such as pesticide-free crop protection. In France, we had all the assets we needed to do this,” says Johann Fournil, who has been in contact with Provence Promotion regarding the group’s development and recruitment needs.

“The support of Provence Promotion has been highly beneficial. We are regularly informed of trade fairs and events that take place in the area. We have been put in touch with potential partners and are continuing our discussions on several subjects related to employment and financing,”  concludes Johann Fournil, who visits the Salin-de-Giraud industrial site every month.

Preserving and creating jobs in the Bouches-du-Rhône

The M2i group has just relaunched a POEC vocational training program for job seekers. At the end of this in-company training session, a dozen people, mainly production operators, will be hired. With production becoming increasingly intensive, the Salin-de-Giraud unit has already tripled its workforce, from the 30 jobs safeguarded in 2013 to more than 90 employees in 2022. The SME, which has its headquarters in Saint-Cloud outside of Paris, employs a total of 190 people in France.

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