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Zodiac Aerospace (Euronext: ZC) is a French corporation that, as of May 2012, specializes in the production and development of on-board systems, safety systems and cabin interiors. The company is a world leader in aerospace equipment and systems for commercial, regional and business aircraft, as well as helicopters and space applications. The Zodiac Aerospace Group applies a strategy built on internal and external growth in niche markets that offer a high technology content, generate significant after-sales support business and have the potential to establish the Group as a world leader. The Marine Segment was separated from the Group in September 2007 to become Zodiac Marine & Pool.
On 22 December 1896 Maurice Mallet (1861–1926), a famous aeronaut, founded the Société Mallet, Mélandri et de Pitray, the predecessor of the Zodiac firm. The company specialized in the design and construction of balloons. In 1899 the company name was changed to Ateliers de Constructions Aéronautiques Maurice Mallet 
In March 1908 Mallet and Count Henri de la Vaulx established the Société Française des Ballons Dirigeables ("French Airship Company")
In 1909 the company manufactured and introduced the first sporting and tourist balloons.
In 1911, the company changed its name to Zodiac and enjoyed steady growth until 1933. Zodiac contributed to the war effort by constructing airplanes, working primarily for the Aérostation Maritime (Naval Balloon Command).
In 1953, the company temporarily discontinued its aeronautical activities, as the 1960s French trend of pleasure and motorboating led Zodiac to take an interest in the civil market. The company made initial moves to set up a sales organization.
In 1970, with the creation of Zodiac Espace as part of a joint project with the CNES (National Centre for Space Studies), the company revived its original core business: the air balloon. In doing so, it consolidated its position on the market for inflatable products.
Zodiac avoided bankruptcy due to the recognized quality of its products and a change of management. The new chief executive officer, Jean-Louis Gerondeau, appointed in late 1973 by chairman Didier Domange, implemented a drastic plan of recovery. With the support of shareholders and the assistance of the IDI (Institut pour le Développement Industriel), Zodiac held fast. In 1977, after three years of adjustment and recovery, a major contract provided the crucial break the company needed. Zodiac made a fresh start, although a concern for economy has been a key feature of corporate culture ever since.
In 1978, the purchase of Aérazur and EFA led to the creation of an “Aeronautics branch”. Meanwhile, Zodiac implemented a policy of globalization and diversification through its subsidiaries. The purchase of Air Cruisers in 1987 marked a new stage in this development. For Zodiac, this first major international diversification—strengthened by the purchase of Pioneer (1988), Weber Aircraft LLC (1992), Sicma Aero Seat,C&D Aerospace (2005) and Contour Aerospace (2011)—heralded the start of a new entrepreneurial adventure.
In the years that followed, the Zodiac Group achieved dominance in previously-untapped markets, often consisting of specialized niches. These, however, are sensitive to consumption swings and currency fluctuations.
Zodiac's strategy of regular acquisitions and its concern to maintain a consistent industry focus led it to refocus on aeronautics, its core segment. The marine segment was acquired by Carlyle, a private equity firm with whom the Group jointly acquired the US company Waterpick the previous year.
The same year, after 34 years with running the group, Jean-Louis Gerondeau transmitted the Presidency of the Board of Directors to Olivier Zarrouati, CEO of the group’s aerospace business.
In 2008, Zodiac pursued its strategy of external growth, acquiring three companies that specialized in cabin interiors: Driessen, TIA and Adder. In early 2009, highlighting the refocus move initiated in 2007, the Group’s shareholders’ meeting voted to approve the new name, "Zodiac Aerospace".
In 2012, Zodiac Aerospace announced they had signed a letter of intent to acquire US inflight entertainment firm The IMS Company, in order to become stronger in the area of in-flight entertainment. The IMS Company was renamed Zodiac Inflight Innovations.
Six Business Segments
Both the organization and the management of Zodiac Aerospace are structured into six businesses: Aircraft Systems, Cabin and Structures, Galleys and Equipment, Seats, Aerosafety, and Services.
- The Aerosafety Segment designs and manufactures products and complete systems for protection, rescue. This Segment is mainly involved in the military market but is also involved in other types of markets, including commercial, regional and helicopters.
- The scope of expertise by the Aircraft Systems Segment is recognized by all the major international aerospace manufacturers, and ranges from civil aviation and military aviation to space applications. This segment optimizes the high-technology equipment and systems essential for in-flight and group operations on both fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft.
- The Cabin & Structures Segment core business is creating integrated cabin interiors that not only optimize the passengers' flying experience, but also maximize the value of the airplane for airline customers. Using a product design philosophy which focuses on providing more customer and baggage space, increasing reliability, simplifying installation, and using light weight materials, Zodiac Cabin & Structures has established itself as the world’s leading provider of integrated cabin interiors. The Segment structural composites business manufactures products utilizing a variety of advanced composite including prepregs, honeycomb, braided preforms and advanced molding materials.
- Zodiac Galleys & Equipment Segment was created to maximize innovation, industry leadership and global support for all commercial aircraft galley structures, systems, containers, trolleys and inserts.
- The Zodiac Seats Segment designs, certifies and assembles innovative, personalizable and high-added-value products. In providing its expertise to all market customers, the Division draws on a strong international presence.
- Zodiac Services Segment offers a global distribution network of spare parts and components, maintenance of equipment manufactured by the Zodiac Aerospace Group, customized support services for airline operators and dedicated technical support.
Zodiac Aerospace is a Joint Stock Corporation managed by a Board of Directors and a Supervisory Board incorporated in France. The Board of Directors is led by chairman Mr. Olivier Zarrouati, and its Executive Committee is composed of nine members for fiscal year 2012/2013. The Supervisory Board is chaired by Mr. Didier Domange.
Executive Committee (fiscal year 2012/2013) :
- Olivier Zarrouati, CEO, Zodiac Aerospace
- Maurice Pinault, Deputy CEO, Zodiac Aerospace
- Jean-Jacques Jégou, Vice-President, Administration and Finance
- Yannick Assouad, CEO, Aircraft Systems Segment
- Christian Novella, CEO, Zodiac Seats Segment
- Stephen Zimmerman, CEO, Cabin and Structures Segment
- Adri Ruiter, EVP, Airline Relations
- Jean-Michel Condamin, CEO, Galleys & Equipment Division
- Gilles DeBray, CEO, Aerosafety Segment
Consolidated key figures
|Number of employees(1)||16,945||17,477||19,567||23,080|
|Current operating income||€240||€249.4m||€384.8m||€486.4m|
|Net income (after minority interests)||€148.5m||€173.2m||238.3m||€318.9m|
|Earnings per share (after minority interests)||€2.80||€3.28||€4.45||€5.89|
(1) Average number of permanent employees on the payroll during the fiscal year.
(2) Ex. neutralization of treasury stock.
Other Financial Indicators
|Net income (after minority interests)/Net equity at beginning of year(3)||10.6%||15.3%|
|Net equity after appropriation of net income||€1,495.0m||€1,255.2m|
|Net interest expense||€24.8m||€33.1m|
(3) Net equity at beginning of year after incorporation of exchange rate fluctuations, capital increases and premiums for the fiscal year.
- "Maurice Mallet". The Pioneers: An Anthology. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
- "Zodiac to become power player in IFE with acquisition of The IMS Company". apex.aero. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
- "Company Overview of Zodiac Inflight Innovations". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
- Zodiac Aerospace Annual Report 2009/2010
- History written from the book A century of air and water (1996 – Communication Department of Zodiac Aerospace)