Growing internationally and revitalizing the aerospace industry: a bold gamble by Abipa and the Fonds

The pandemic notwithstanding, the goal of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ has always been to support Québec businesses in their growth and market development plans. It was for that matter thanks to the Fonds that Abipa became an international player in the aerospace field while at the same time helping to revitalize the industry. Let’s shed some light on the double impact of this historical transaction.

Sophie Robillard With the collaboration of Guy BoutinFollow him on LinkedIn

Abipa Canada is a sophisticated manufacturer of complex aerospace components located in Boisbriand. In order to better serve its current clients, such as Raytheon Technologies (Pratt & Whitney), Bombardier and Safran, but also its prospects, this homegrown company from the Laurentians had its hopes set on international expansion. And so, with the help of several strategic partners, including the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Abipa Canada recently struck up a strategic merger with a French firm, the ARM Group, thus creating Abipa International.

"Normally, this type of transaction has a buyer and a seller. In our case, the pandemic urged us to work differently. The shareholders of Abipa Canada and those of the ARM Group were joined to create the larger Abipa International group. With the collaboration of Export Development Canada, a new 15-million-dollar investment in equity capital was injected into Abipa International. This will give the group the financial structure needed to cope with the uncertainties of the pandemic and to seize new growth opportunities", explains Guy Boutin, Investment Manager, Aerospace Sector at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

The business relationship linking the Fonds to Abipa began back in 2012, the year when the previous owner retired and the business was purchased by the Fonds in collaboration with Abipa management and Jean Blondin. In addition to the Fonds’ position as a significant shareholder of the company, the acquisition made it a key ally as well. Since then, the business has evolved on several levels, crucially by modernizing its equipment and by robotizing several of its operations. As it stands, following more than two years of work, this new transaction has raised Abipa to a higher level on the international market.

"The Fonds is a long-time partner that supports our every stride. In addition to playing an important role along the years, this transaction proves that the Fonds will be a part of Abipa’s future", sets out Jean Blondin, President of Abipa International.

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Impacts on Abipa: international growth, competitiveness and attractiveness

There are several positive consequences to this transaction that allow the company to secure its place as a leader in the worldwide supply chain while also improving the security of its local supply chain.

"For us, this union opens extremely significant prospects and growth opportunities, via the diversification of our products and our presence in three key geographical areas for the aerospace market, i.e., North America, Europe and Northern Africa", clarifies Jean Blondin.

Not only does this transaction contribute to maintaining our 400 quality jobs across six international sites, it also enables the group to enjoy a larger, more specialized team, which is a considerable strength in our labour shortage environment.

  "By becoming a larger business, Abipa is increasing its capacity to attract qualified employees who can join management as well as the company’s various teams. All the while, Abipa will continue to grow", specifies Guy Boutin.   

Beyond the transaction at hand, the Fonds is committed, as it has been for nearly ten years now, to continually champion the business in terms of strategy and human resources. To do so, the Fonds takes a strong sectoral approach along with its specialized team made up of lawyers, market specialists, tax experts, business appraisers and development officers.

The impact on the aerospace industry: improved consolidation on a global scale

The arrival of Abipa International signals good news for Québec’s economy and the international aerospace industry.

"Thanks to this transaction, demands for sector-wide consolidation can be met and a local business can spread its wings abroad while still maintaining its headquarters in Québec", concludes Guy Boutin.

Even prior to the public health crisis, this industry encountered challenges when the world’s biggest contractors had to do business with several suppliers in order to meet all their needs.

"By bringing together two important players with distinct specialties, Abipa International will be equipped to meet the needs of major clients as well as showcase our expertise beyond the borders of Québec and Canada", clarifies Jean Blondin, convinced that an example is being set for local businesses that propel Québec’s economy, each in its own way.

With its 692 million dollars in “patient” investments in 36 aerospace companies and its support of 14,754 direct and indirect jobs, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is the aerospace sector’s most significant player. By backing a Québec business financially, strategically and in terms of human resources, the Fonds is giving Abipa its international wings while also helping to revitalize a weakened industry.

An ally of 3,437 local business,the Fonds has invested an average of $1.1billions per year over the past five years..