Elimco-Prettl Aerospace, wired for success
The company's plant in Querétaro, Mexico contributes to the one billion euros this multinational turns over every year.
Two established firms merge to give rise to a third of even grander proportions. That is the simple formula adopted by Elimco-Prettl Aerospace, an international manufacturer of electrical wiring harnesses for aircraft that set up a plant in Mexico a few years back to supply its main markets: North America and Europe.
"Mexico offers many advantages compared to countries like Spain or France. There is skilled labor, which, although trained in other sectors, in a different type of manufacturing, is good and competitive," says Rafael Navarro, Elimco-Prettl Aerospace Commercial and Contracts Director.
At its Mexican plant, Elimco-Prettl Aerospace manufactures electrical wiring harnesses, which basically contain all an aircraft's cables and can vary in length from fifty centimeters to ten meters.
"The company's line of business includes the design, manufacture, assembly, testing, and delivery of electrical wiring harnesses for military and commercial aircraft," says Navarro.
Shoring up its aerospace division is the economic clout of two reputable firms with experience in the industrial sector: Prettl is a multinational of German origin with over 10,000 employees, 33 plants in twenty countries, and a longstanding tradition in the automotive sector, primarily in the electrical and electronics side; while Elimco is a Spanish firm that has been working with companies like France's Airbus for some time now.
In fact, it was Airbus that encouraged both companies to broaden its horizons, creating a joint venture that has positioned itself on the aerospace sector in no time at all.
"(Both companies) wanted to develop an aerospace line. In 2010, they entered into a joint venture with representation in Mexico, in the city of Querétaro to be precise. More than anything, it was a transfer of know-how from Elimco to Prettl and obviously we are focused on markets in Mexico, the US, Spain, France and Germany," says Navarro.
Elimco-Prettl views Mexico as a gateway to the North and Latin American markets. As for its decision to settle down in Querétaro, several factors played a part, namely the fact that Prettl has had a presence there for almost forty years.
"As chance would have it, Prettl had a history of operating in Mexico and so the merger came about. Being in Querétaro gives you enormous advantages: you're well connected to other states like Guanajuato and have access to airports in Mexico City and Querétaro. Also, Prettl imports a lot of materials via Veracruz and Laredo, so these two factors –geographical location and existing infrastructure– were central to the signing of the agreement," says Navarro.
"However," he adds, "an even more important factor was the boom Querétaro's aerospace sector has experienced. Over the last three or four years, the state government has been promoting the sector by organizing fairs, events and trade missions and offering tax, trade, and strategic incentives to companies like ours. It's a set of conditions that, together, paint a bright development outlook."
Prettl Group reports annual global revenues of some one billion USD, with the Querétaro aerospace plant chipping in with sales of almost one million USD. This is a great number for a three year old company, moreover, earnings are expected to triple following the signing of some contracts that the company is about to formalize with two of the main Tier 1 companies in the world.
"The figures indicate we will continue to expand. The idea isn't just to carry on consolidating and delivering on our promises but to hire more people in Mexico," says Navarro.
Prettl employs 2,200 people in Mexico, 99% of whom are of Mexican origin (the remainder is from other countries like Spain, Germany or the US) and according to Navarro, the company is committed to Mexico for many reasons.
"We want to stay here and we will; in fact, Prettl Group is about to open a new plant in Querétaro, near the airport, in 2015, which would create some 800 jobs. We'd like to expand our aerospace operations to that plant, but we need to go step by step. This is the line Prettl Group intends to follow," concludes Navarro.