News of French companies (February 2014)
- GameLoft announces a new $35-million CAD investment in Montreal
- Nexans to provide underwater cables to connect the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador
- Airbus expands its presence in Ontario
- Maurel & Prom to work with the Quebec government on an exploration project on Anticosti Island
- Altiplano to open its first Canadian urban acrobatic park in Montreal
- Veolia in partnership with Shell in Alberta heavy oil production
- Servier Canada to invest $10 million CAD in two research projects in Quebec
- Alten Canada pursuing growth in the greater Montreal area
- Essilor to acquire Canadian company Coastal Contacts
- Morpho (Safran Group) explosive trace detectors to be used by Air Canada
- Alstom Grid and Hydro-Québec to pursue further collaboration
Gameloft has decided to expand its Montreal studio. This investment of $38 million CAD over three years is intended to help the studio specialize in online and multiplayer game development. This company, which already employs 415 people at its Montreal studio, plans to hire an additional 100 people over the next few months. GameLoft was able to count on a non-refundable financial contribution of $1.3 million from Investissement Québec.
GameLoft is one of the five global leaders in mobile game development. It distributes its game in 100 countries and includes more than 4,000 developers in 25 development studios around the world. GameLoft is listed on the Paris stock market. Present in Montreal since 1999, GameLoft was founded by Michel Guillemot, the brother of Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft.
Nexans to provide underwater cables to connect the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador
NSP Maritime Link Inc., a branch of Emera Inc., awarded Nexans a project revolving around the creation of a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cable connection between the island of Newfoundland and the Nova Scotia peninsula. Under this contract, which has a total value of €175 million, the Group will oversee the development, manufacturing, and installation of two 200kV HVDC power cables that will cover a distance of 170km under the water.
The Maritime Link project revolves around a 500MW HVDC line meant to transport clean, renewable, and reliable electricity between the provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia and to the energy markets of Canada and the northeast United States. For the first time in its history, the island of Newfoundland will be connected to the North American electricity distribution network. This maritime connection will also provide Nova Scotia with new access to clean and renewable energy in order to replace coal-burning plants and to respect Canada’s more stringent greenhouse gas limits.
This is Nexans’ biggest project in North America to date. In 2013, Nexans received a contract worth more than €80 million from Nalcor Energy for the fabrication, supply, and installation of roughly 100km of underwater cable to connect the Labrador Peninsula and the island of Newfoundland via the Strait of Belle Isle.
Nexans, a global expert in the cabling industry, offers a wide range of cables and cabling solutions. It is a major player in the construction, heavy industry, and energy transmission and distribution markets. With industrial presence in 40 countries and worldwide commercial activity, Nexans employs 25,000 people and earned total revenues of almost €7.2 billion in 2012.
Airbus Helicopters Canada (formally Eurocopter) will add a production line to its primary Canadian facility in Fort Erie, Ontario, which will create an additional forty highly-qualified jobs. It will be dedicated to producing engine cowlings for the EC 225, the most widely-sold helicopter in the world for use in the oil and gas industry. The Fort Erie plant currently employs 235 people and produces component parts for many different series of helicopters manufactured by the group.
Airbus Helicopters established its facility in Fort Erie in 1984. It currently maintains other plants in Richmond, British Columbia, and Montreal, Quebec, in addition to a support and customer service network to support its fleet of more than 670 helicopters in Canada. “With this multi-million investment, Airbus Helicopters is demonstrating its confidence in and commitment to Ontario and Canada,” said Romain Trapp, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Canada.
On February 13th, Maurel & Prom announced that it had signed an agreement with the government of Quebec (via the Ressources Québec agency) and with local partners (Petrolia and Corridor Resources) regarding the exploration of petroleum reserves on Anticosti Island in Quebec. Petrolia, the project operator, will provide support for the technical expertise of the French petroleum industry group Maurel & Prom. This preliminary agreement, which has been submitted to the relevant authorities, should be finalized in the first quarter of 2014.
Ressources Québec, a branch of Investissement Québec, will hold a 35% share in this joint enterprise, while each of the three other partners (Petrolia, Corridor Resources, and Maurel & Prom) will hold 21.67% shares. Maurel & Prom will contribute $43.33 million to this project.
The exploration will focus on two projects that will each consist of two phases: 1) determining the type and quantity of hydrocarbons present; 2) determining if these hydrocarbons can be viably exploited.
The French group Altiplano, which already operates six parks in France, will open its first Canadian “urban acrobatic park” at the Montreal Olympic Park. Altiplano already operates a park in Atlanta, so Montreal is the second step in its expansion into North America. Over the year to come, Altiplano wants to open eight parks in North America, five of which will be in Canada, accounting for an investment of almost $5 million. The company will be responsible for the development, installation, and management of this new entertainment area. This project should create roughly 20 permanent jobs and 50 seasonal jobs.
The new Exalto park in Montreal will feature three high acrobatic courses built around impressive artificial wood and steel structures, a concept unlike any other in the world. This multi-activity park will also include an area for toddlers that will include an acrobatic course accessible to children aged two and up. It will also include two rest areas and two dining areas.
CEO of Airbus Helicopters Canada Romain Trapp with Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) Gary Goodyear and Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Photo: James Culic, Niagara This Week)
On February 18th, Veolia officially announced that it had been chosen by Shell to be a part of the petroleum project taking place in Carmon Creek, Alberta, where Shell is implementing a system that will recycle water coming from the production of heavy oil from oil sands. The Shell Carmon Creek project is currently under construction. It should produce up to 80,000 barrels of petroleum per day, using improved petroleum extraction techniques where steam is injected into underground reservoirs to facilitate petrol production. This method will allow technicians to optimize the amount of water being recycled.
The Carmon Creek project has an estimated value of €350 million for Veolia, which is already providing Shell with a sustainable water management system for its Pearl GTL complex in Qatar. Veolia’s engineering and development expertise contributed to the implementation of a treatment system capable of producing 50,000 tons of steam per day, which is essential for the production of petroleum. The project is overseen by Veolia Environnement’s Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) branch, which has its North American operations centre in Chicago.
Two significant research projects by Servier Canada, developed in collaboration with two major Montreal-based institutions (the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal (ICM) and the Centre de recherché du CHUM (CR-CHUM)), recently received co-financing from the government of Quebec. These projects received funding as public-private partnerships supported by the Fonds de Partenariat pour un Québec Innovant et en Santé [Partnership Fund for an Innovative, Healthy, Quebec].
The ARTERIA project, undertaken by the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, will allow for better prevention, detection, and treatment of heart diseases, which are the leading cause of death in Canada and around the world. This large-scale, groundbreaking project was made possible by a financing package totaling $49.2 million: $18.2 million from the government of Quebec and $31 million in private investments related to the biopharmaceutical sector, including a contribution by Servier Canada. The second project revolves around the development of a cutting-edge diagnostic platform called OPTI-THERA.
“These investments are in line with our development strategy in Canada. It is equivalent to 12.8% of our revenue, which corresponds to $26 million, reinvested during the year 2012 in research. In 2013, we invested $16.3 million in the creation of a centre of excellence in clinical research. In 2014, two projects of public-private partnerships to the tune of $10 million are confirmed,” stated Frédéric Fasano, CEO of Servier Canada. The Servier Research Group is an independent laboratory—unlisted on the stock market—that employs 22,000 people, including 3,000 researchers, around the world in more than 140 countries.
One year after its installation in the greater Montreal area, ALTEN Canada has bolstered its presence in Quebec by acquiring Consultem, an IT consulting and personnel placement firm. Alten Canada, the Canadian branch of the French Alten Group, caters primarily to Quebecois, Canadian, and North American companies, working in the aerospace and information and communications technology. With the acquisition of Consultem, the Alten Group expands the range of consulting and ICT personnel placement services that it offers.
Essilor International announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Coastal Contacts (Coastal.com), one of the world leaders in online optical materials sales, for $430 million. Based in Vancouver, Coastal.com is listed on the Toronto stock market and on the NASDAQ. It earned $218 million over the course of the fiscal year ending October 31, 2013. Founded in 2000, Coastal.com develops and distributes one of the largest ranges of optical goods available online. Online sales represent roughly 4% of the global optics market, which is estimated to include $100 million in retail sales. Sales have shown a double-digit increase that is expected to continue for the next few years. Essilor has been active in online sales for several years through its subsidiaries FramesDirect and EyeBuyDirect and through MyOnlineOptical.
Essilor is the global leader in ophthalmic optics. From development to fabrication, the company produces a wide range of lenses to correct and protect vision. Essilor has been present in Canada since 1972, with the creation of a company headquartered in Montreal. Currently, Essilor Canada maintains 40 local laboratories, three Canadian digital surfacing laboratories, and four anti-reflective treatment centres and it employs more than 1,000 people.
Morpho (Safran Group), through its subsidiary Morpho Detection, announced that Air Canada would begin using its Itemiser® DX explosive trace detectors (ETD) for air cargo screening. According to the terms of the contract, Air Canada implemented the Itemiser DX system in its air cargo infrastructure to replace the previous systems, so as to meet the relevant Transportation Security Administration regulations.
The Itemiser DX was approved for air cargo screening since 2010 and it has been certified by six international regulatory agencies. Since its launch, more than 5,000 Itemiser DX systems have been delivered to air cargo screening organizations, airport security screening points, checked baggage screening areas, and other secure areas around the world.
On January 31, 2014, as part of their partnership dedicated to innovation in smart grid technology, Alstom Grid and the Institut de recherché d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ) signed a licensing agreement to market a key product: the MiCOM P848 loss of synchronism relay (RPS). This cutting-edge technology allows the detection of network instability, such as surges and overcharges affecting power lines, and the rapid implementation of protective measures.
Signed in 2012, the goal of this “smart grid” technological innovation-oriented partnership is the joint development of innovative, marketable technologies, based on new solutions that have been tested and approved by the Institut de recherché d’Hydro-Québec. This partnership opens up exploration in a number of different domains, such as WAMPACS systems (Wide Area Monitoring, Protection, and Control Systems), which compare data collected from electric networks in order to assess these networks, oversee them, and to ensure their stability. Developed to meet Hydro-Québec’s energy transportation needs, all of the solutions developed have nonetheless found applications in other systems around the world.
Alstom Grid has more than 130 years of experience behind it and it is currently among the top three actors in the electricity distribution sector, with annual sales turnovers of more than €4 billion. Alstom Grid’s 19,000 employees are spread out across 88 manufacturing and engineering sites around the world.