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Safran to build a compressor blades and vanes plant for aero engines in partnership with Belgian and Walloon governments


Safran Blades - Ministres

Herstal, Belgium, December 19, 2022

François Lepot, CEO of Safran Aero Boosters, today announced that a new compressor blades and vanes production plant for aircraft engines will be set up in the Walloon region of Belgium, in the province of Liège. The announcement was made before Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, and Thomas Dermine, Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments.

Representing a €50 million investment, the new plant will produce titanium compressor blades, including those required for the LEAP engine, and will bolster Safran Aero Boosters' industrial expertise in its flagship product, the low-pressure compressor. Bearing the name Safran Blades, it is being set up in partnership with the Belgian and Walloon federal authorities, the Société Régionale dʼInvestissement de Wallonie (S.R.I.W) and the Société Fédérale de Participations et d'Investissement (S.F.P.I.M). Safran Aero Boosters has a majority stake of 56% and the two partners each hold 22%.

“There are hundreds of blades in the compressor. They are a key component in our supply chain. Managing their production in both technical and logistical terms will guarantee our performance.”
François Lepot, CEO of Safran Aero Boosters

The 10,000-square-meter center of excellence will be located in Marchin, on a former ArcelorMittal site that will be completely refurbished, incorporating Safran's best industrial technologies to meet the highest global standards. Featuring automation, highly qualified personnel and the most advanced digital technologies, Plant 4.0 will produce more than 2,000 blades and vanes a day, with innovative, autonomous real-time quality control at every critical stage of production. It will be operational in 2025 and will employ around 100 people. 

In addition, the site is designed to meet the highest standards in terms of sustainable development, with a significant reduction in energy and water consumption and the use of renewable energy (solar panels, hydraulic turbines, etc.).

“We are very proud to announce the construction of this plant today. I'd like to thank the Belgian and Walloon governments for their ongoing support for Safran's industrial and research projects, and for consolidating the autonomy of our supply chain through this investment.”
Olivier Andriès, CEO of Safran
"Belgium and Wallonia are teeming with innovative companies that boast incredible expertise. This is the case for Safran Aero Boosters, in a strategic and forward-looking business area. We must be proud of our successes, and make even greater use of our know-how ".
Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium
“This new plant, the only one of its kind in Belgium, will enable us to develop new expertise, and by relocating this business to Wallonia, it will give Safran Aero Boosters real autonomy in its production. This investment will also create about 100 jobs and rehabilitate a former industrial wasteland, thus contributing to our objective of rehabilitating 100 hectares per year. Wallonia is keen to reaffirm its strong support for Safran Aero Boosters, a true Walloon technological showcase in the aeronautical field.”
Willy Borsus, Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Foreign Trade, Research and Innovation, Digital, Land Use Planning, Agriculture, IFAPME and Competence Centers
« La création de cette nouvelle usine cadre parfaitement avec la volonté de l'Etat fédéral de soutenir des secteurs stratégiques sur lesquels assoir notre politique industrielle. En tant qu’Etat stratège, il est essentiel de réfléchir en termes de filières d'activités ciblées. L’aéronautique fait partie de ces secteurs-clé de l’économie belge identifiés par la SFPIM. L'investissement de ce jour montre le potentiel de réindustrialisation à soutenir en Belgique et en Wallonie ».
Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy, added to the Minister of the Economy and Employment

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Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 76,800 employees and sales of 15,3 billion euros in 2021 and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes research and development programs to maintain the environmental priorities of its R&T and innovation roadmap.

Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.

Safran Aero Boosters designs, develops and manufactures low-pressure compressors, equipment and test cells for aerospace propulsion. The company's products are on board the majority of commercial aircraft in service as well as Europe's Ariane launch vehicle. Based in Liège (Belgium), Safran Aero Boosters has two subsidiaries in the United States and employs 1,800 people.

The S.R.I.W. (Société Régionale dʼInvestissement de Wallonie) contributes to the development of the economy by intervening financially in the development projects of Walloon companies or companies established in Wallonia.  It participates in their growth, alongside private investors, via equity investments but also loans.

The SFPIM is the Belgian Sovereign Wealth Fund. It acts as a trusted partner in helping Belgian companies, SME as well as scale-ups, to become a reference in their industry by providing smart capital solutions. SFPI-FPIM also plays a major role to safeguard the longterm stability of the Belgian economy by contributing to the anchoring of strategic assets through smart capital solutions in both promising and established companies or ecosystems.

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