SA says ‘oui’ to French collaboration

South Australian defence companies will spruik their capabilities to eight innovative French companies visiting the state today and tomorrow in an effort to establish a presence in the Australian maritime market.

The visiting French firms, which specialise in a range of activities in the maritime sector, will meet with local businesses during targeted business-to-business meetings, as part of the Maritime Connection Days event.   

The event is part of new French acceleration program, organised by Business France, aimed at fast-tracking French businesses with a strategic interest in the maritime industry to establish a local presence.

Business France French Trade Commissioner Francois Cotier said the French acceleration program will strengthen the French-Australian bilateral relationship and continue to build a strong supply chain ahead of the Future Submarine program.

“We wanted to bring together the major players in France and Australia to develop a bilateral relationship in the maritime sector,” he said.

“This mission answers the French need to show that the French industry, in all its dimension, ensures the establishment of a French-Australian supply chain in Australia in support of the contract SEA 1000.

“This initiative represents an excellent example of the will of both countries to cooperate in an industrial domain.”

The program, which was initiated through a steering committee consisting of French companies Naval Group, the Poles Mer, the GICAN and Austrade, was launched during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron last May. 

French company Planitec, which specialises in providing project management services to a range of industrial areas including maritime, defence, energy and transport, will meet with several South Australian companies.

Rémy Vénési, VP International Partnerships, said the company is looking to expand into the Australian market by potentially partnering with South Australian companies in the maritime sector and other high-growth industries. 

“As a long-term partner with Naval Group, the SEA 1000 (Future Submarine program) is a golden opportunity to develop our offering in the Australian market, in line with our strategic plan which targets a strong development on international activities,” he said.

“Our business is performed efficiently only when we are close to our customers, which we plan to achieve with a new locally-based company.     

“We are looking for partners that are already working in the maritime industry and provide services complementing ours.

“We also plan to address other industries too, so if companies address other Australian industries with large or complex projects, we are happy to talk to them.”

Planitec has been working on several major projects for customers such as Naval Group in maritime, Airbus in aeronautics, Alstom in transport, EDF in energy and Eumetsat in space, over the past five decades.

“We have gathered a wealth of experience that we capitalise through a well-established knowledge management process,” he said. 

“We bring to the Australian market, and more specifically to the Australian maritime market, our capacity of benchmark, which proves a highly desired competence for all the industries that wish to be best-in-class.” 

Defence SA Chief Executive Richard Price said the event was a chance for local businesses showcase their capabilities and forge new relationships with potential French investors.

“I hope these companies will see the benefit of doing business in Australia and the vast collaboration opportunities available to our companies,” he said.