The Dordogne that exports: Cofidur manufactures electronic boards for the whole world

This is an anecdote that Jacques Auzou, the mayor of Boulazac-Isle-Manoire, likes to recall with a little pride: "Did you know that at Cofidur, in Boulazac, we made electronic cards which equip terminals of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. »The Dordogne which exports: Cofidur manufactures electronic boards for the whole worldThe Dordogne which exports: Cofidur manufactures electronic boards for the whole world

Nicolas Djerbi, the site director, explains the importance of exports in the company: "Through the companies for which we are subcontractors, we estimate between 30 and 40% of our products that go abroad. . Direct export is around 15%, mainly in Europe, with Switzerland and Belgium as main customers. »

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Cofidur is what is known in industrial jargon as an EMS, Electronic Manufacturing Services, a subcontractor for equipment manufacturers. The Boulazac company, which was called Compagnie des signals then Périgueux Electronic Centre, joined the Cofidur group in the late 1980s. It has held its place there ever since, representing 150 of the 400 employees has its other factory and head office in Laval, Mayenne. It is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.

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From Ariane to Leroy-Somer

Boards mounted at Cofidur are found in the Ariane rocket or in Airbuses, but also in products sold worldwide by export companies such as Thalès, Safran, Alstom, Lectra, as well as in electric motors from the world leader Leroy-Somer. "All the electronics that drive these motors are manufactured by us", emphasizes Nicolas Djerbi.

The Dordogne which exports: Cofidur manufactures electronic boards for the whole world

Approvals for aeronautics and space, defense and medical allow us to be in many export markets. Rail is booming to compensate for sluggish markets like aviation. “We are very present in many factories through machine tools and robotics. »

Cofidur is also one of the leaders in the installation of LEDs for public lighting, another sector that is exporting throughout Europe. The group relies on its global solution offer, which ranges from studies to resistance tests, which is very important for electronic products placed in hostile environments. Knowing how the parts will behave from - 40 to + 110 degrees is a skill valued in Boulazac.

The automation of the factory is very visible when one crosses the halls where the layout of the components is often only monitored and tested by a human presence. The time when small hands implanted them with a chain and a soldering iron is almost over, except for very small, very technical series for which Cofidur retains recognized expertise.

The shortage of components

Like a large part of the industry, Cofidur suffered in 2020 from the shutdowns of the economy at the time of the first confinement. "We found ourselves for a moment at 15 in the company", recalls Nicolas Djerbi.

A bad patch which is in the process of being recovered in 2021, with profitability already regained in the first half and which should be confirmed in the second, even if the global shortage of electronic components is starting to be felt seriously, which could impact between 10 and 20% of the group's turnover. “Even if we are less affected than the automobile, we have to fight for our supplies. Prices are skyrocketing and we are trying to limit delays for our customers. »

To be able to continue investing in its digital factory 4.0 plan, Cofidur has benefited from a boost from the State recovery plan with a budget of 550,000 euros. They will be used in particular to continue the robotization of production lines in which nearly 2 million euros should be devoted over two years. Recruitment is also a strong axis with always the difficulty of finding and keeping production operators.

A turnover of 55 million euros is expected for this year, still far from the 68 million for the reference year 2019. But the recovery is underway and the order books are already several months old. advance. The company is looking forward by launching an internal plan called "Ambition 2025", focusing on the growth, modernization and human capital of its teams.

Executives took over the company

Cofidur's 2021 news was marked by the transfer of the company to seven operational executives who took over 100% of EMS Finance, via a company called Dordogne Mayenne Développement, thus holding 49.5% of the Cofidur SA holding company. "This acquisition will make it possible to perpetuate the activity and the current structure with the sites of Laval and Périgueux, as well as to energize the group", indicated the press release announcing the transmission. The fifty-year-old company was turning a new page.

"The historic shareholders restructured the group to plan for its future and preferred to sell it to its managers rather than to financiers", summed up CEO Laurent Dupoiron in July shortly after this reorganization, whose "stability" he praised. should reassure staff and customers. He leads the company alongside its financial director, the directors of human resources, the two manufacturing sites, development and sales.

In this new governance, the director of the Périgueux/Boulazac site, Nicolas Djerbi, plays his full role in the management team. For this electronics engineer from Perigord, who joined as a trainee and who has climbed all the levels of the company for twenty years, it is the continuation of a very beautiful story in which he is very invested, in particular to recruit new employees at all levels.

“The good news is to see very competent people arriving in the Dordogne, especially in management. They come from all over France. »

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