SEAT Ventilation produces, from Verniolle, fans for the chemical industry and electronic airflow regulators. The Company is preparing to release the SEAT 50, which can ventilate 17,000 m3 of air per hour.
"The first model had not even been mounted when we the orders started pouring in", explains Jean-Luc Chapel.
The new model, released in June, enabled SEAT to broaden its catalogue and move upmarket. SEAT fans are specific in that they are made of plastic components capable of holding up in acid or basic environments.
SEAT fans are shipped from the Ariège region to more than 50 countries on five continents to equip research laboratories equipped with exhaust hoods or chemical plants.
"We operate on all five continents."
With its 11 employees, SEAT earns €5 million in turnover. Jean-Luc Chapel works with a young team inviting them all, in product design for instance, to put in their two cents, "everyone packs it in”, states Jean-Luc Chapel with a smile. And it works.
"Our progress takes place incrementally. After one year of upward movement, we stabilise, then take off again”, adds Jean-Luc Chapel.
In Verniolle, the SEAT teams assemble fans using components made by sub-contractors.
"We keep a large back-load of parts in order to remain responsive. That’s the key”, states Jean-Luc Chapel further.
Founded in 1968 in the Paris region, this eight-employee company specialised in industrial anti-corrosion plastic fans for laboratory hood extraction established operations in Ariège, at the VARILHES activity zone in 2005 and earned €4.4 million in turnover in 2008.
SEAT Ventilation has been exporting since 1986. It now owns 3 sales subsidiaries, in the Czech Republic, Hungary and the US, and earns over 30% of its turnover through export to 45 countries including more than half beyond Europe’s borders, in particular in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North America and Australia.
Its aim is to earn 50% of its turnover through export, within the next five years. This will entail a sizeable prospecting effort, as Ms Stanciu, the company’s Export Director, knows and emphasises:
"Export is no easy undertaking – you have to persevere and, before you can conquer a new market, there are thousands of small steps that have to be taken".
Named the Best Ariege Company in Major Export by the Consular Chamber in 2007, SEAT Ventilation had taken advantage of an intern portage offer from TOTAL in RUSSIA. Thanks to the contacts it developed through this process, it stepped up its prospecting efforts by participating in the MOSCOW Laboratory Equipment Trade Show this year.
Rewarding the company for its dynamism on the export market, the Foreign Trade Advisors awarded Mr Chapel, Director of SEAT Ventilation, with the 2009 Regional Export Prize for Most Innovative Product, along with a €6,000 check to finance an export mission in Germany:
"This will drive my team of ‘greenhorns’ to keep up the momentum in this direction. Our aim is to conquer new markets, introduce new products and establish our brand’s renown”, explains one company leader brimming with ideas, and already in the process of extending his factory premises in VARILHES.