The Basque Country:
a territory of industrial production
For years, the Basque Country has been an important industrial territory for the New Aquitaine region. Whether it is for its expertise in the textile sector, the agri-food industry, the aeronautical industry or the healthcare and medical industry, our region has real assets. Indeed, industry is the third most important economic sector in the Basque Country in terms of the number of jobs: 13,519 jobs in industry, out of a total of 150,212 jobs in the Basque Country (source: CCI Bayonne). Industrial production companies represent 4% of the companies in the Basque Country (approximately 2000 establishments, out of approximately 50,000 companies.
With two ports, including the port of Bayonne, the Basque Country benefits from competent human resources and infrastructures supported by the local authorities. Industry is a strong tradition in the region, with notably historical sectors: agri-food, aeronautics and the surf industry. Around these three major centers of expertise, internationally renowned companies have been built or established, making up the economic and industrial strength and dynamism of the Basque Country today: Technoflex, Epta France, Lauak, BMS Circuits, etc. We present examples of industrial production companies in the Basque Country.
The main industrial production companies in the Basque Country
Whether they originate from the Basque Country or are European or international groups that have set up their French headquarters in the Basque Country, there are many companies that make the Basque Country’s industrial potential shine.
Epta France, based in Hendaye and employing 550 people with an annual turnover of 200 million euros, is the market leader in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment for industrialists and mass distribution professionals. The teams design, manufacture, market and install refrigerated units in hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and hard discount stores. The industrial site in Hendaye groups together the research and development, training, human resources, pre-sales and after-sales divisions, but above all benefits from ultra-robotisation of the production lines and a 400 square meter showroom. Epta France is a subsidiary of an important Italian group.
Technoflex, located in Bidart, manufactures plastic packaging and more specifically flexible bags for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. B.Braun, located in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, produces medical-surgical and dental equipment. We invite you to read this page in which we detail the activities of Technoflex and B. Braun, and the health and well-being sector in the Basque Country.
Celsa France, a subsidiary of the Spanish group Celsa Group and formerly Aciérie de l’Atlantique, is an electric steel mill specializing in the production of steel billets. Located in the port of Bayonne since the 1990s, this strategic location was chosen to facilitate the transport of raw materials or products sold by sea, road or rail. With 200 employees at its Boucau/Tarnos site, Celsa France is a major player in industrial production in our region and a fine example of the cross-border economy between Spain and the French Basque Country. They invested in a new unit able to laminate their products.
The LAUAK Group has been established in the Basque Country, more specifically in Hasparren, since 1975. Historically a supplier to Dassault Aviation, it is now a major subcontractor of parts for the aeronautical industry, but also for the medical, naval and electronics sectors, etc. Over the years, the LAUAK Group has established itself as a reference partner for the world leaders in aeronautics.
BMS Circuits (All Circuits) based in Mouguerre is specialized in the manufacture of assembled electronic boards. Benefiting from its own expertise and flexibility in production, BMS Circuits is delighted to be able to relocate the production of certain French companies to the Basque Country, such as Lunii “la boîte à histoires” in 2020.
Sokoa: located in Hendaye, the company Sokoa, which specializes in the production of office chairs, also has its production plant directly on site. 27,000 square meters of production space are used to produce around 435,000 office chairs each year, which are then shipped all over the world. With qualified local teams, all stages of design and production are carried out, right through to marketing. Sokoa works with a team of designers to offer innovative products while respecting a maximum of eco-design in favor of the circular economy. It became a European leader for the chairs manufacturers.
Textile and board sports industries: expertise in industrial production in the Basque Country
Basque textiles are rooted in the local culture and have been a real expertise for years: household linen, espadrilles, fabric manufacturing and wool… Basque linen now has its own geographical indication, allowing the product to be certified as being made in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. However, the textile industry is now the second most polluting industry. In order to protect the Basque textile industry, but also to innovate in favor of a more sustainable textile,the ESTIA school (Ecole Supérieure des Technologies Industrielles Avancées) has created the BALI Chair.
The BALI Chair “Biarritz Active Lifestyle Industry“, created by the ESTIA in 2017, aims to help the fashion ecosystem, from textile design to clothing sales, to transform the challenges raised by new lifestyles and consumption patterns into economic opportunities over a period of three years. The BALI Chair will continue its commitment in 2020, over a second 3-year cycle, to consolidate its ambition to become an information and research center on the technological disruptions of the future for fashion and textile companies.
To help textile and clothing companies innovate, the Chair combines knowledge dissemination and open innovation. A technical training center will notably allow the transmission and adaptation of “material” know-how. The Chair has announced a partnership with major French textile brands such as Eram and Petit Bateau to work on textile eco-design solutions. The Chair is also hosting Patatam, an online second-hand store concept that wants to develop a textile collection and recycling site in the Basque Country. Finally, the BALI Chair has also enabled the CETIA to come into being: co-created by the ESTIA (Ecole supérieure des technologies industrielles avancées) and the CETI (European Center of Innovative Textiles), this project aims to automate the implementation of more circular and responsible processes in the textile industry in France.
Many fashion and textile companies are already well established in the Basque Country: Quiksilver, Volcom, Hoopal, Tribord… These companies draw their strength and competitive advantage from the scenery offered by the region. The ocean and the mountains as a territory allow them to get closer to the consumers, to test the products in situation and to find employees who really share the same values.
Tribord, the Decathlon brand, has seized all the opportunities offered by the Basque Country. Its teams and Research and Development departments are based in Hendaye, as close to the ocean as possible, in the premises of the old harbour auction. Its teams of engineers, product managers, designers and prototypists design and test tomorrow’s products, as close as possible to the users and their needs, in the world’s largest open space.
For the board sports industry, there has been a cluster since 2005, EuroSIMA, bringing together the biggest brands in the sector on the Basque-Land coast. The board sports industry accounts for more than 4,000 jobs in New Aquitaine (source: EuroSIMA), for several hundred companies including the 5 world leaders (Boardriders, O’Neill, Billabong, Rip Curl, Volcom). A business park is dedicated to boardsports in Anglet: BAIA Park (and its associated business center, Olatu Business Innovation Center: business hotel, incubator, resource center). Several dozen brands are concentrated within a 50 km radius.
the Basque Country, a privileged region for agri-food industry
In the Basque Country, food is grown, raised and processed. Because the taste of gastronomy is an age-old tradition, the Basque Country has invested in the agri-food sector. Predominant in the inner Basque Country, the food industry is particularly represented by the meat, milk, confectionery and fish sectors. This is what Maison Agour wishes to represent: a symbol of the influence of Basque gastronomy on a national and European scale, Maison Agour produces and markets delicatessen, cheese and grocery products, thanks to production sites anchored locally, such as its artisanal cheese factory in Hélette.
The food industry represents 3,000 jobs spread over more than 100 companies. For over 10 years, the Uztartu cluster has mobilized all the players in the Basque agri-food industry to :
- Develop collaborative projects between the various producers, breeders and growers
- Encourage short circuits
- Optimise processing
- Produce eco-designed packaging
- Contribute to a territorial brand
- Make the agri-food industry a real sector of the future
- Make sustainable development a strong strategic axis.
Why set up an industrial production company in the Basque Country?
The examples of industrial production companies in the Basque Country have shown the diversity of production sectors and know-how that we have in our region. With the synergies and support of local authorities, we can count on the grouping and sharing of experience of the various strong economic players in this sector to help new entrants. The “Basque Country Industry” association (PBI – Euskal Industriak) was created with this objective in mind: to share experience in order to improve the competitiveness and innovative capacity of its members. Eight industrial production companies have joined forces: All Circuits, Akira, Lopitz Group, Epta France, Somocap, Sokoa, Agour and Lauak Group.
The interest in synergies between industrial sectors is real and growing. Thanks to its local knowledge, its links with local authorities and its feedback on the setting up of industrial companies in the Basque Country, Basque Invest can advise you on the best practices and the right setting up strategy to take advantage of the know-how of the Basque Country for your industrial production company.