A strategic shift or a return to basics more than a century apart? Cable manufacturer Nexans is embarking on a radical change to refocus on electrification businesses, which range from energy production (the connection of power plants) to consumption in buildings, including transport. electrons.
The plan, which was announced in mid-February, provides for the abandonment of the manufacture of cables for aeronautics, railways, automobiles and telecommunications. In total, more than a quarter of its turnover (6 billion euros in 2020), generated by nearly half of the 25,000 employees of the group, will thus be sold by 2024. Of the 70 factories of the group, a third is concerned, including six in France which employ around a thousand people.
“Nexans has become a cable generalist present in 34 sectors. But by wanting to be everywhere, we end up being nowhere, and our market shares are eroded. It’s time to refocus », Assures Christopher Guérin, CEO of Nexans who has spent his entire career in the group, before taking the helm in July 2018.
The company which was called Câbles de Lyon then Alcatel Câbles, was founded at the end of the 19th century.e century to support the development of electricity, for example by illuminating the Champs-Élysées or the Universal Exhibition of 1900. It was even one of the first to develop underground cables.
New cable ship
Today, his boss is betting on the energy transition, a market set to develop with the boom in green energies that will have to be connected, in particular the offshore wind farms farther and farther from the coast and the strengthening of interconnections. , necessary to compensate for the intermittence of renewables. Nexans has just laid a 700 km submarine cable between Germany and Norway, and in May, the company will take possession of a new cable boat making it possible to reach depth records.
Such an upheaval obviously raises concerns internally, and many employees in France wonder what sauce they are going to be eaten. “Management is going too far and too quickly without providing sufficient guarantees », Judge Raphaël Ternisien, the representative of the CFE-CGC. On the strength of the company’s good financial health, Christopher Guérin, for his part, ensures that he has time to choose the buyers.