French Ambassador is visiting innovative French-based companies in Florida

On April 25th, 2013, during his visit to Jacksonville, French Ambassador to the United States Francois Delattre was able to assess the active role of French enterprises localized at the heart of the Floridian economy, beginning with the inauguration of the North American headquarters for the Buffet-Crampon company, and thereafter visited the Saft industrial batteries factory which opened in 2011.

Grand Opening of Buffet Group North American Headquarters


New building of Buffet Group USA

[(A French enterprise established in 1825, and with its headquarters situated in Mantes-la-Villes in Yvelines, Buffet Group is the second largest global manufacturer of wind musical instruments including bassoons, clarinets, oboes, and saxophones.

A manufacturer well-known for their instruments of professional high quality, Buffet Group has thus acquired a position as a global leader within their respective industry.

Numerous acquisitions have served to only consolidate their strengths in the industry. Following the purchase of the Antoine Courtois firm—French manufacturer of brass instruments—Buffet Group also acquired the German brands W. Schreiber and J. Keilwerth.

In 2012, the enterprise also fulfilled the acquistion of B&S GmbH, the first German manufacturer of brass instruments, and in the same opportunity became the Buffet Group. The brands B&S, Hans Hover, Melton Meinl, Weston and J Scherzer together constitute this brand.

Due to their acquired assets, the Buffet group thus became the second largest global manufacturer of wind instruments—composed of nine brands, four production sites, multiple subsidiary branches, including four in the United States (one of which is in Jacksonville), and several hundred music stores in Europe, South-East Asia and South America.


At the opportunity of the inauguration for the Buffet Group USA North American headquarters, before present leading figures, both French and American alike, the Ambassador of France first gave a warm thanks to the Mayor of Jacksonville, Alvin Brown, and extended gratitude to his team for their involvement in the different commemorations that took place in May 2012—events which strongly and symbolically marked the festivities for the 450th anniversary of French presence in Florida.

The support of the city further demonstrated itself as well by means of the 2012 launch of the first French Week in Jacksonville—a week comprised of social, cultural, and culinary special events, newly reinstated this year with the organization of a second edition.

The Ambassador thereafter highlighted the fruitful exchange long sustained between Jacksonville and Nantes, and which, as of these past few years, has significantly expanded under the educational and cultural framework notably exemplified by school exchange programs established between the two cities, not to mention Jazz music—the genre by means of which a bond joins together the Nantes Conservatory and the University of Florida.

On this breeding ground, which could not be more promising,Francois Delattre recognized the role of which French enterprises similar to Buffet Group USA, and Saft therafter, undoubtedly serves to local interests in Jacksonvillle and in advancing France as one of the leading countries contributing to foreign investments.

Prior to the symbolic act of cutting the inaugural ribbon opening the doors of the new American headquarters for the Buffet Group USA, the Ambassador congratulated the different decision-makers that were present for the event, including: Antoine Beaussant, President of the Buffet Group, and Francois Kloc, CEO of Buffet USA and honorary Consul of France in Jacksonville.


Picture, left to right: Paul Astleford, "Visit Jacksonville" ; Antoine Beaussant, Buffet Group CEO ; Honorable Alvin Brown, Mayor of Jacksonville FL ; His Excellency Francois Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States ; Xavier Marin, President of Fondations Capital ; Francois Kloc, Buffet Group USA CEO; Honorable Gael De Maisonneuve, Consul General of France in Miami.

A visit to Saft: The world’s leading designer and manufacturer of high-tech industrial batteries


Saft, a world leader

Saft is a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced technology batteries for industry. The Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of nickel batteries and primary lithium batteries for the industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, civil and military electronics markets.

Saft is also the world leader in space and defense batteries with its Li-ion technologies which are also being deployed in the energy storage, transportation and telecommunication markets.

Key figures:

• 4,000 employees
• present in 19 countries,
• 16 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network

Saft Jacksonville

This high-volume and state-of-the-art production facility located in Jacksonville, Florida opened September 2011 and is dedicated to building advanced lithium-ion cells and batteries that serve a number of purposes, including energy storage for renewable energy, smart grid support, broadband back-up power, transportation and defense.

As Saft’s 16th global facility, the Jacksonville production plant is also a unique example of technical innovation—including the production of 1 MW of solar power from the largest rooftop photovoltaic system in Florida and fully-automated, totally flexible production lines capable of building multi new-generation Li-ion technologies.

With an annual sales capacity of $300M, Saft Jacksonville is meeting growing demand for high performance, competitive energy storage solutions and will continue to play an important part in the development of the new-energy economy, both in the United States and worldwide.

During his visit at Saft Jacksonville, French Ambassador François Delattre met with Franck Cecchi, Director of Saft’s worldwide Li-ion operations and Christopher Kaniut, Saft, General Manager of the Jacksonville Plant.

Article published April 30, 2013.

Last modified on 03/05/2013

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