France is a major player in the aerospace and defence sector, with a 20.3 per cent share of the world market and exports worth more than €50.8bn in 2013. Its partnership with South Africa continues to strengthen, with important manufacturing contracts placed with local companies – the latest being in June this year, when Airbus placed a third package with Denel for the A400M military airlifter worth R260 million (US$25 million). Denel Aerostructures is the only Tier 1 supplier of manufactured parts for the A400M outside Europe.
Other French companies are always looking to team up with local businesses. There are already about 245 subsidiaries of French firms in South Africa, employing more than 300,000 people in 2013. Ubifrance, the agency for international business development, with an office in Johannesburg, helped some 300 companies to visit South Africa last year, to conduct market studies or find future partners. France is South Africa’s third-largest European partner after Germany and the UK, with trade between the two countries worth €2.7bn in 2012.
The French pavilion in Hangar 4, Stands A4-6 at AAD hosts seven companies showcasing their expertise: BCI Aerospace, whose business is to connect OEMs and suppliers; Air Cost Control, an electrical parts distributor; Equip’Aero Services, an independent repair station for electromechanical and engine accessories; Fives Group, a designer and supplier of industrial machinery; Interface Concept, which manufactures electronic embedded systems; Kalistrut Aerospace, a manufacturer of high-performance titanium and steel rods; and Group Reel, an integrator of aircraft final assembly line solutions.