April 25, 2018 / 5:22 PM / a year ago

France's Mersen expects energy transition to drive sales growth

(Reuters) - Mersen (CBLP.PA), a French specialist in electrical power and advanced materials, said on Wednesday it is well positioned to take advantage of demand generated by energy transition, which had supported strong growth in first-quarter sales.

Mersen supplies solar cells for photovoltaic panels, equipment for the conversion and distribution of electricity to the wind industry and ultra-pure graphite for semiconductor manufacturers and has also offered a battery protection system for Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) and Porsche’s (PSHG_p.DE) future electric vehicles.

Mersen, which has suffered in the past from unfavourable solar and chemicals markets overshadowing its performance in electronics, aeronautics and railway, said the next decade looks more promising.

With solar returning to growth and a stabilisation in chemicals, Mersen saw all five of its business units participating in the group’s growth for the first time since 2011, Luc Themelin, its chief executive, told Reuters.

“At a given moment, the markets with a high potential linked to energy efficiency (will account for) around 50 percent of the group’s revenue. We see a very big evolution,” he said.

Themelin estimates that this 50 percent threshold can be achieved by the beginning of the next decade, compared to 30 percent five years ago and 40 percent last year.

Mersen is also in talks about an acquisition in power electronics that could be concluded in the coming months.

The company said it had posted 11 percent like-for-like growth in first quarter sales supported by an exceptional performance in Asia and a robust contribution from renewable energies, electronics, and aeronautics, with nearly 50 percent growth in solar.

Reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris; writing by Piotr Lipinski in Gdynia; editing by Alexander Smith

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