Altran

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This article is about Altran Technologies, a consulting firm. For the FORTRAN extension, see ALTRAN.
Altran Technologies
Traded as EuronextALT
Founded France (1982)
Headquarters Paris (France)
Key people Philippe Salle, Chairman & CEO
Revenue € 1633 million (2013) [1]
Employees 21,000 (2014) [1]
Website www.altran.com

Altran Technologies, SA is a global consulting firm founded in 1982 in France. Altran operates primarily in high technology and innovation consultancy, which account for nearly 75% of its turnover. Administrative and information consultancy accounts for 20% of its turnover with strategy and management consulting making up the rest.[2]

History[3][edit]

1980s[edit]

Alexis Kniazeff and Hubert Martigny ex-consultants of Peat Marwick, today known as KPMG, founded Altran in 1982. At Peat Marwick, Kniazeff, a civil engineer with a master's degree in business, and Martigny developed the vision of a decentralized management, which in turn would enable the creation of independent profit centers.

Altran begun to target the high-technology segment of the aerospace industry, providing engineering consulting on various space program and military hardware projects. The firm's engineers provided consulting services and participated in the design and development of those projects. By 1985, the firm counted a staff of 50 engineers.

The company expanded through small business units that would later generally range from 10 to 200 employees. Each business unit was then operated more or less as an independent company that identified its own growth strategy and controlled its own investment program while at the same time receiving support from central management. Business units supported each other mutually, creating what the company referred to as a "cross-fertilization" of expertise, and managers' salaries were based on their units' performance.

In 1987, the company was listed on the Secondary Market of the Paris Stock Exchange. By 1989, Altran's sales had neared the equivalent of 48 million euros. The number of the company's employees grew to approximately 1,000 by 1990, as well as its range of expertise, moving into the transportation, telecommunications, and energy sectors, with a strong information technology component.

1990s[edit]

The early 1990s the company adopted a new business model. While much of the company's work during the previous decade had been performed in-house, at the beginning of the 1990s the company developed a new operational concept, that of a temp agency for the high-technology sector. The firm's staff started to work directly with its clients' projects, adding their specialized expertise to projects. By the end of the decade, the company had more than 50 subsidiaries in France, and had taken the lead of that market's technology consulting sector. The company was helped by the long-lasting recession affecting France and much of Europe at the beginning of the decade, as companies began outsourcing parts of their research and development operations. Altran was also expanding by acquisition, buying up a number of similarly operating consultancies in France, such as the 1992 acquisition of GERPI, based in Rennes. By the end of that year, Altran's revenues had swelled to the equivalent of 76.5 million euros.

The elimination of border controls within the European Community in 1992, the company's clients began operations in other European countries. At first Altran turned to foreign partnerships in order to accommodate its clients. Yet this approach quickly proved unsatisfactory, and Altran put into place an aggressive acquisition plan in order to establish its own foreign operations.

Altran targeted the Benelux countries, the first to lower their trade barriers, acquiring a Belgian company in 1992. By the end of the decade, the firm's network in these countries' markets was composed of 12 companies and 1,000 consultants. The acquisition criteria was that existing management remained in place and in general the acquired firms retained their names. The acquisition policy was based on paying an initial fee for an acquisition, then on subsequent annual payments on the acquired unit's performance.

Spain became the company's next target in 1993. Starting with the acquisition of SDB Espan, a leading telecommunications consultant in that country, Altran's Spanish operations later grew into a group of nine companies with more than 2,000 consultants. Spain was to remain one of the company's top three markets into the new century, with a total of six companies, including new acquisitions Norma, STE, and Inser, and then Strategy Consultors, based in Barcelona, in 2000.

By 1995, Altran's sales had topped 155 million euros, and its total number of employees had grown to nearly 2,400 (mostly engineers). The company recognized that the majority of engineers lacked a background in management, thus a training program was launched capable of training 200 candidates per year.

In 1995 the company invested on United Kingdom and acquired High Integrity Systems, a consulting firm focused on assisting companies that were transitioning into new-generation computer and network systems, and DCE Consultants, which operated from offices in Oxford and Manchester. In 1997, Praxis Critical Systems was also acquired, founded in Bath in 1983 to provide software and safety-engineering services, and in order to supplement the activities of its acquisitions, the company also opened new subsidiary offices, such as Altran Technologies UK, a multi-disciplinary and cross-industry engineering consultancy.

In the second half of the 1990s the company was acquiring an average of 15 companies per year. Italy became a target for growth in 1996, when Altran established subsidiary Altran Italy, as well as CE Consulting, before making its first acquisition in that country in 1997. In 1998, Altran added four new Italian acquisitions, EKAR, RSI Sistemi, CCS and Pool. In 1999, the company added an office in Turin as well as two new companies, ASP and O&I. Germany was also a primary target for Altran during this period, starting with the 1997 establishment of Altran Technologies GmbH and the acquisition of Europspace Technische Entwicklungen, a company that had been formed in 1993 and specialized in aeronautics. In 1998, the company added consulting group Berata and, the following year, Askon Consulting joined the group, which then expanded with a second component, Askon Beratung.

Other European countries joined the Altran network in the late 1990s as well, including Portugal and Luxembourg in 1998 and Austria in 1999. By the end of 1999, the company's sales had climbed to EUR 614 million; significantly, international sales already accounted for more than one-third of the company's total revenues.

In 1998, Altran moved up to the Paris main board's monthly settlement market. Nonetheless the company remained largely unknown outside its industry; in the late 1990s, however, it began to take a number of public relations initiatives. One of the most successful of these was the establishment of the Altran Foundation for Innovation. In another public relations move, in 1999 the company joined the Proust racing team as sponsor and technology contributor.

Similar progress was made in Switzerland, a market Altran entered in 1997 with the purchase of D1B2. The Berate Germany purchase brought Altran that company's Swiss office as well in 1998; that same year, Altran launched its own Swiss startup, Altran Technologies Switzerland. In 1999, the company added three new Swiss companies, Net@rchitects, Innovatica, and Cerri.

Early 21st century[edit]

In 2000, the company's Italian branch expanded to 10 subsidiaries with the opening of offices in Lombardy and Lazio and the acquisition of CEDATI. Still in this year, Altran's presence in Switzerland grew with two new subsidiaries (Infolearn and De Simone & Osswald), also acquired I&K Beratung and the United States became a primary target for the company's expansion with the acquisition of a company that was renamed Altran Corporation.

Altran began building its operations in South America as well, especially in Brazil. By the end of 2001, Altran's revenues had jumped to more than 1.2 billion euros, while its ranks of consultants now topped 15,000.

In 2002, Askon Beratung was spun off from Askon consulting as a separate, independently operating company within Altran, and the company's Swiss network had added a new component with the purchase of Sigma. This year a full-scale entry into the United States was made. After providing $56 million to back a management buyout of the European, Asian, and Latin American operations of bankrupt Arthur D. Little (the US-based consulting firm founded in 1886), Altran itself acquired the Arthur D. Little brand and trademark. This acquisition was seen as an important step in achieving the company's next growth target, sales went to 2 billion euros by 2003 and the company had more than 40,000 engineers by 2005.

On 29 December 2006, all subsidiaries based in Ile de France were merged under the name of Altran Technologies SA, a technology consultant, which was organized into four business lines (as well as brand names):

  • Altran TEM: Telecommunications, Electronics and Multimedia.
  • Altran AIT: Automobiles, Infrastructure and Transportation.
  • Altran Eilis: Energy, Industry and Life Science.
  • Altran ASD: Aeronautics, Space and Defence.

The firm's revenues reached 1.591 4 billion euros in 2007, a 6.4% increase compared to 2006 (1.495 4 billion).[4]

In 2008, the Group’s turnover reached 1 650,1 million euros, with over 18 500 employees in the 20 top countries. In 2009, the turnover reached 1.403 7 Billion euros (56% of the turnover achieved outside France), with 17 149 employees spread through approximately 200 branches in 26 countries, each autonomous in management and business strategy.[1]

In early 2013, Altran group finalised the acquisition of 100% of IndustrieHansa, a major engineering and consulting group based in Germany, placing it among top five in the market of Technical Consultancy, Innovation, Research and Development.[5]

Organization[edit]

Altran covers every stage of project development from strategic planning through to manufacturing, in four key areas:[2]

  • Information Systems
  • Intelligent Systems / Altran
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Lifecycle Experience / Altran

The firm's main business areas are as follows:

  • Aerospace and Defense[6]
  • Automotive and Transportation [7]
  • Energy and Industry[8]
  • Financial Services[9]
  • Government[10]
  • Life sciences[11]
  • Media[12]
  • Railway[13]
  • Telecom[14]

International presence[1][15] and Websites[edit]

Asia Africa Europe North America South America
  • Tunisia

Altran and the environment[edit]

Altran is also involved in Ecological Design. At the Ecobuilding Conference in 2006 Altran presented various ecological concepts which were voted for by the audience for development and exhibition at the Altran Innovation Conference, 4 February 2007. Designs included a window that cleaned air both outside and inside a building[citation needed], motion sensitive lights that lit up and extinguished themselves as someone moved around a room and a communal waste disposal unit and square, featuring communal gardens with flowers and other such flora, powered by solar energy in the day to extract gases that could be stored for use either in powering the squares energy or, in the case of methane, preventing the harmful gas escaping into the atmosphere. The "Square" concept won.

Altran Foundation for Innovation[edit]

The Altran Foundation for Innovation is an international scientific competition run by the company. The competition's theme is selected each year addressing a major issue in society. The entries are judged by a panel containing scientific, political or academic experts. A prize of a year's technological support for the project is awarded to the winner and Altran's consultant teams will also follow up the awarded project.[16]

External links[edit]

References[edit]