At the close of a century of industrial adventure, the company created by Maurice Mallet in 1896 became an international Group and world leader in aerospace equipment and systems.
A passion for flight
In 1896, the company “Mallet, Mélandri and de Pitray” was founded by Maurice Mallet, a famous 19th century aeronaut. The company played a pivotal role in the production of the first airships for sport and tourism.
In 1911, the company adopted the name of “Zodiac” and expanded rapidly in the construction of airplanes and airships, especially in serving the Aérostation Maritime (Naval Balloon Command), and through its participation in the war effort.
In 1934, the company created the first inflatable boat prototype, ancestor of the renowned “Zodiac” and foundation of the civil and military inflatable boat industry.
Zodiac began to focus on the leisure industry by concentrating on boats for the civil market. The French passion for boating took hold in the early 1960s. The Group will take advantage of this period to develop its Marine activities. As a result, Zodiac had to adopt its first commercial structure, which enabled it to develop its export policy, and in 1964 it opened its first subsidiary in Spain, which marks the beginning of the Zodiac group’s internationalization
The company had to navigate a period of crisis in 1973, but thanks to Jean-Louis Gerondeau, Managing Director, and with support from shareholders and the French Institute for Industrial Development, the company recovered in 1977, by reinvesting its former core business: the aerospace industry.
Constitution of an international group
In 1983, Zodiac was the first company to be listed on the ‘Second Market’ of the Paris Stock Exchange. The Group has followed a strategy of acquisitions over the last thirty years, enabling it to build world-leading positions in various niche markets.
For example, the acquisitions of Aerazur, EFA, Air Cruisers and Pioneer Aerospace enabled Zodiac Aerospace to develop in aircraft safety systems markets, and Sicma Aero Seat and Weber Aircraft to diversify into the seats and cabin interiors market, while Intertechnique contributed expertise in the aircraft systems.
The Marine division was sold in 2007, enabling Zodiac to focus on growth and development in aerospace businesses. The company adopted the name of Zodiac Aerospace and Mr. Olivier Zarrouati became Chairman of the Management Board. The company continued its acquisitions strategy with the purchase of Driessen, Adder and TIA, all three specializing in the design of cabin interiors.
Since the 2010s, the Group had followed its expansion with new acquisitions: Sell in 2010 (specialist of integrated galleys), Heath Tecna in 2011 (cabin retrofit) and Contour Aerospace in 2012 (first class seats). These acquisitions enabled Zodiac Aerospace to strengthen its position as a major actor in the cabin industry and to become the worldwide leader in the commercial aircraft seats. Others acquisitions completed the know-how of Zodiac Aerospace in the field of systems with IMS (IFE – In-flight entertainment system), IPS (on-board electrical system) and Triagnosys (on-board connectivity). In 2014, Zodiac Aerospace acquired PPP (oxygen systems for business aviation), Greenpoint Technologies (VVIP cabin interiors) and Enviro Systems (environment control system).
Meanwhile, Group’s workforce increased from 17,000 in 2010 to 35,000 in 2015.