Pavatex is a medium-sized Swiss company producing building shell solutions out of wood. Martin Brettenthaler, Pavatex' CEO, tells us why they chose to open a new plant in Golbey, in the Lorraine region of France.
What is your company’s main business?
Pavatex is a medium-sized Swiss company producing building shell solutions out of wood. Our products are sustainable, ecological and healthy. With our products you can achieve very good energy standards in a house. When you isolate with Pavatex products you protect against the cold in winter, against heat in summer and against noise. The building shell is then open and lets the building breath. Through this you achieve a very high quality of indoor living.
Can you tell us more about Pavatex in the world?
We have 250 employees. Last year our group turnover was around 100 million Swiss Francs which is around €80 million. We are active all over Europe. We are a Swiss-based company now with a strong presence in France. Our turnover is mainly in Germany and Austria, Switzerland, France, but we are also present in Italy, the Benelux countries, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and we also have a sales representative office in Japan.
Our products are not really DIY products, they are more designed for professional people in the construction world.
Why did you choose to open a site in Golbey, near Épinal?
Our two plants in Switzerland did not have enough production capacity, as our market was growing. So we looked for an alternative to set up a new plant and add additional capacity. We investigated various sites in many European countries – France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria – and we chose France for several reasons.
Reason number one is that France has a very high potential for our type of products. In France, the renovation market is just beginning. The market for wood frame construction is growing strongly and there is a lot of political emphasis and resolve to make buildings more durable and sustainable.
The second reason concerns wood. Wood is a raw material which is in short supply all over Europe, and yet we have found a sufficient supply of it here in the Vosges area, in the Lorraine region of France.
Another reason is that Épinal is home to the ENSTIP (École Nationale Supérieure des Technologies et Industries du Bois), a French school for wood, training engineers and people in the trade which is obviously very helpful for us.
What else made France attractive to you as an investor?
We also had a very strong incentive to come here because we teamed up with our neighbor, a big newsprint paper mill, with whom we are exchanging synergies on an industrial level. We are using their steam, we are working together for wood supply for logistics, and last but not least, there has also been strong political support for us to come here. There is strong willingness to convert this region so that it has more future-oriented industrial activity.
What are your company’s future plans in France?
In France, we really want to help and contribute to the conversion from traditional building methods to something more future-oriented, more energy-efficient, more sustainable. I think that, together with our partners, we will be able to do this.