Swedish Company Alfa Laval Sets Up Agency in Marseille

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Swedish Company Alfa Laval Sets Up Agency in Marseille
Jean-Jérôme Semat, president of Alfa Laval France and North and West Africa
05 February 2018 /

Marseille is a great jumping-off point for conquering new markets and gaining a foothold in the south

On February 6, 2018, Alfa Laval, a trusted name in heat exchange, separation and fluid transfer, is holding the official opening for its new branch, located just a stone’s throw from the Port of Marseille. This large Swedish company employs a total of 18,000 people, including 850 employees at five plants in France, where its presence dates back over a century. Alfa Laval chose Marseille because of the region’s diversity and growing economy. The company is aiming to take advantage of the nearby energy infrastructure around the Berre Lagoon, the momentum in the agrifood sector, and the rebounding ship-repair industry for commercial and private craft. Out of all the potential sites offered by Provence Promotion, Alfa Laval picked the Saint-Henri free-trade zone north of Marseille to build their technical hub, complete with a workshop and training center. Jean-Jérôme Semat, president of Alfa Laval France and North and West Africa, believes that Marseille is a great jumping-off point for conquering new markets and gaining a foothold in the south.   

What is Alfa Laval’s line of business, and why did they choose Marseille?

It is no secret that Marseille is home to a variety of sectors. Things are looking up for the ship-repair sector with the inauguration of the largest dry dock in the Mediterranean, which is sure to attract new ships in need of repairs. We have positioned ourselves in three technologies: separators, exchangers and the manufacture of pumps and valves for fluid transfers. Alfa Laval France has sales revenue of just over €110 million in three sectors: energy, agrifood, and the marine industry. We perform on-site work for our national and international customers. In the field of petrochemicals, we helped convert the Total La Mède refinery. In nuclear energy, Alfa Laval exchanger plates are part of the Jules Horowitz reactor (RJH) built at the Cadarache site by TechnicAtome and the CEA. And we have plenty of Marseille-based projects as well! At the Port of Marseille, the Thassalia seawater loop that supplies the buildings in the Euroméditerranée district with hot and cold water circulates through our exchangers. We are looking to expand our client portfolio in the agrifood sector. The Coca-Cola and Pernod Ricard plants need exchangers and separators, as do olive-oil and wine producers.

February 6 will be the inauguration of your Marseille branch. Tell us about the agenda for the day.

We are hoping to develop closer relationships through this Marseille location. We invited 150 customers. These include many technical managers, production managers, technicians from design offices, heat-network operators and cooperative wineries. Training sessions focusing on technical topics will be held on February 6, starting at eleven in the morning. The official ceremony will take place at six in the evening. We have also set up a showroom where we will display innovative products that help use energy and raw materials more efficiently. Along with the offices, there will be a 500 sq. m repair and maintenance workshop, and a center where employees are trained to repair and set up our products. Our proactive R&D policy ensures that 35 to 40 new products are brought to market each year.

Do you expect this Marseille location to help you expand your reach in Africa?

We have a presence in Ghana, and we plan to create an African service center. Alfa Laval has 18 French technicians who regularly visit the continent. Our marketing and services department has 130 employees in France, North Africa and the West Coast of Africa. As you may already know, our company was founded in Sweden in 1883 by Gustaf de Laval, an inventor and adventurer descended from French immigrants!