Whatever the headwinds of Brexit may bring, European industrial group GYS is busy investing in the future of its UK subsidiary.
Celebrating its first decade in the British market, GYS – the family-owned manufacturer of welding, automotive body repair and battery service equipment – is expanding its sales and servicing facilities in Rugby, and setting ambitious new growth targets.
UK sales topped £4m in 2017 and GYS is looking to boost revenue by 15% this year, building on the recent launch of a range of new products.
“We are 100% committed to staying in the UK and will continue to invest to better serve our customers,” says CEO Bruno Bouygues. “I am confident that this will lead to our gaining market share over time.”
With family ties to the West Midlands, Bouygues has more than a business interest in the success of his firm’s UK operations.
“My maternal grandmother came from Birmingham, at the heart of the Industrial Revolution,” he says. “So, you could say British entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood!”
Founded in 1964 as a manufacturer of transformers; today, GYS is present in 123 countries with 700 employees worldwide and five commercial subsidiaries in the UK, China, Germany, India and Italy.
The Bouygues family acquired GYS 20 years ago, just as a revolution in inverter technology was taking place. Seizing the opportunity, the company now manufactures more electronic inverter welding machines in Europe than any of its rivals.
Based in Laval, western France, where 95% of its products are made (the remaining 5% in China), GYS posted annual revenues of €83m in 2017. Investing €20m in additional production capacity, the company aims to double its size and workforce by 2025.
More than 60 expert engineers dedicated to research and development are based at its new research centre in Laval, just a short drive from Le Mans, home to motor racing’s prestigious test of endurance and efficiency.
GYS is also a major manufacturer of battery charging equipment. Rapid developments in vehicle electronics have presented further opportunities.
Today, the company is at the cutting edge of battery-support technology, working with a number of leading car makers.
The development of safer, stronger, lighter car bodies using specialised steels requires advances in welding technology. GYS works closely with more than 30 car manufacturers, Tesla being the latest, to ensure its wide range of car body repair equipment is compatible and approved by them.
GYS also invests heavily in customer support. As technology continues to evolve, dealers and customers need logistical, sales and after-sales back-up with the latest technical information
Bruno Bouygues is clearly committed to the company’s UK market and sees Brexit as a significant opportunity for GYS. “There’s an amazing pool of talent in this country and we’ve been fortunate to hire some incredible people. They’re smart, ambitious and ready for whatever tomorrow may bring.”