Val-De-Reuil, France - June 14th 2019 - Article in a French newspaper named Ouest France
Based in Val-de-Reuil, Eure, France, Altix designs and manufactures machinery for the electronics industry. 95% of its business is from exports. Four Altix executives executed a management buyout to make the business more prosperous, leading Altix to its current status in the industry.
Altix – Established by Four Dedicated Professionals
This is the story of four business executives who decided, in the middle of the economic crisis in 2008, to buy their company. These 4 executives included the Commercial Director, the Purchasing Director, the R & D Director - and Jérôme Van Straaten, Director of Operations. Jerome joined in 1998 the company Automa-tech, created in 1991, to contribute to its development. Jerome stated: "We design, manufacture and sell machines for the PCB and related industries. Our machines are primarily used to manufacture printed circuit boards, these basic elements which constitute the electronic cards”, he explains. “To re-establish the business, we had to build business capital of one million two hundred thousand euros!
Fulfilling Orders as the New Business Launches
Reorganizing the company was the first action taken as there were orders to fulfill. However, appealing to investors seemed impossible due to lack of time, therefore the four businessmen decided to raise the capital by soliciting those passionate about the entrepreneurial adventure who agreed to take risks to go with new opportunities: These were employees, business angels and suppliers. Finally, the capital was constituted, as Jerome recalls: "We ended up with fifty shareholders. The three long-time suppliers of the company trusted us and agreed to accompany us. We could start again..." At the beginning of 2009
, Altix was operating with a team of twenty-seven employees from the headquarters in France and fifteen from the Chinese subsidiary.
French Manufacturing, with after-sales Service near the Markets
Altix could continue to manufacture in France and expand Its market, which included the printing of circuit boards. "All of our machines are manufactured in France.” insists Jérôme Van Straaten. “And more importantly, we export and sell our machines worldwide to manufacturing companies that make these printed circuit boards and can also assemble the entire electronic card. We carry 95% of our revenue on exports”. China, which produces 50% of printed circuit boards worldwide, generates half of Altix's business. For that matter, the company established a subsidiary in China to directly support sales and service to the Chinese market. In addition, Altix’s activity has also been growing in Europe (15 to 20%), in the United States (15%) and in other parts of the world such as Korea, India and Malaysia.
Investing in R & D to Enable Growth
In 2012, Altix decided to upgrade its machine concept from analog to digital. The estimated amount of this investment was two million euros. To achieve this strategy change, Altix decided to increase its capital by bringing in an investment fund and obtaining additional investments from existing shareholders: “I am 100% satisfied with this collaboration with our shareholders. We constantly need to develop new machines and upgrade existing machines. We are in a high-tech world where research and development efforts are important. Bpifrance also supports us in all our innovation initiatives. They ensure our medium-term financing needs, guarantors of the development of the company and its export strategy, in addition to the banks that finance us in the short term", testified Jerome Van Straaten.
Regular Recruiting to Acquire Skilled Talent
Altix has 85 employees: 52 in France, 30 in China and 3 in the United States, with various skills. Half of the employees are engineers and managers, the other half are assistants, technicians and specialized workers who assemble the machines. "Our business is progressing well and due to this, the recruitment is constant, especially engineers for the after-sales service and R&D. It is true that, like many companies, we have some difficulties finding the skilled people we need. Altix sells around 50 machines annually, and we experienced strong activity in 2018, achieving a turnover of 20 million euros”, Jerome stated. More than anything, Atlix relies on skilled employees and innovation: "The components of the electronic cards are very complex, having to fill many more functionality requirements. The electrical connections between them have multiplied. Altix must therefore make printed circuits of ever-increasing density, which requires a permanent evolution of our machines".
Factory Expansion for Future Growth
Continuing to expand and grow, a new production site was born in Val-de-Reuil in 2012: a beautiful new factory of 2000 m² with an expansion of 500 m² in progress in 2019.
Altix also created a subsidiary in the United States to facilitate the commercial expansion of its products in North America. Lastly, the creation of a new subsidiary in Germany, a territory particularly active in this sector of activity, retains the manufacture of machines in France.