Safran inaugurates plant in China to produce materials for automotive safety systems

Suzhou, China, September 27, 2013.

Jean-Paul Herteman, Chairman and CEO of Safran, today inaugurated a new plant in the Caohu industrial park (80 km from Shanghai) that will produce propellants (gas generant tablets) for airbags. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Zha Yingdong, Chief Executive of Xiangcheng District government, Hervé Austruy and Yin Weining, respectively Chairman and Vice Chairman of the new joint venture SMECQ Automotive Safety Technology Co., Ltd., as well as representatives of the Chinese and French governments, and senior executives of Safran companies.

This new SMECQ plant offers 7,000 square meters of floorspace and includes Class A certified buildings. Created in October 2010, SMECQ Automotive Safety Technology Co., Ltd. is owned 51% by Herakles (Safran) and 49% by TaiHang ChangQing (THCQ), a 40%-owned subsidiary of AVIC (China Aviation Industry Corporation). SMECQ aims to produce some 300 metric tons per year of latest-generation gas generator propellants, enough to equip 7 million airbags from now until 2016, to meet growing demand in the Chinese market. Part of this propellant is intended for THCQ, which projects a production rate of 3 million airbags per year in 2016, a business model that gives the new plant a very promising outlook.

"I am very proud to be able to inaugurate this plant today along with our Chinese partners THCQ and AVIC," said Jean-Paul Herteman. Our presence in Suzhou clearly reflects Safran's commitment to China, already one the leading customers for our civil aviation products. To expand our business in the auto market Safran has made a significant investment in the SMECQ plant, featuring a state-of-the-art industrial design, and compliance with both Chinese and European safety standards."

Herakles (Safran) will bring to this partnership its innovative pyrotechnic materials, proven industrial expertise for guaranteed safety, and mass production capacity for the propellants used in airbag gas generators. The Chinese company THCQ, which already designs and manufactures gas generators for airbags, will contribute its pyrotechnic expertise on first-generation products and its experience in the installation and operation of production units.

According to Hervé Austruy, Chairman of SMECQ, "Herakles, the European leader in energetic materials for propulsion, boasts recognized expertise in the development and production of propellants for airbag gas generators. The opening of this plant marks a decisive step forward in the development of our automotive safety business in China. Our expertise, combined with THCQ's industrial responsiveness, will ensure the successful and timely production of the products expected by our customers."

SMECQ Vice Chairman Yin Weining added, "As a major player in the Chinese automotive safety market, THCQ is very pleased to see the startup of operations at SMECQ, giving us an excellent opportunity to further expand our business. We will give Herakles access to the Asian market, while benefiting from their proven skills in the design and manufacture of airbag propellants."

The SMECQ plant will be able to meet THCQ's needs starting at the end of 2013, and will then be able to supply other auto parts companies with local operations, including TRW, Takata, Daicel and Nippon Kayaku. The Suzhou plant's production capacity could eventually reach 600 metric tons per year.

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Herakles (Safran) est issu de la fusion de SME (spécialiste des matériaux énergétiques) et Snecma Propulsion Solide (spécialiste des moteurs à propulsion solide pour missiles et fusées). La société développe, produit et commercialise des moteurs à propergol solide, des matériaux et des matières premières énergétiques, ainsi que des matériaux composites thermostructuraux et organiques. Herakles fournit des services, produits et équipements pour les missiles stratégiques et tactiques et les lanceurs spatiaux, pour l'aéronautique civile et militaire, la sécurité automobile, ainsi que des outillages pour l'industrie.

Contact Presse :
Antoinette Menard
Tél. : 05 57 20 67 36
Mob. : 06 74 78 10 65
antoinette.menard@safran.fr

Herakles (Safran)
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