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Cyril Bath is a heavy-duty player in the aerospace arena

15 September 2016

For nearly 100 years, Cyril Bath has been a leader in the commercial and military aerospace industry.

Part of the French-based Aries Alliance, which also includes ACB and Dufieux, the company fabricates large, titanium structural components for companies like Boeing. The company also makes big, heavy-duty machines that stretch and form large sheets of metal such as titanium and aluminum to form the outer shell and fuselage parts for aircraft like the Boeing 737 and 787.

Cyril Bath established operations in Monroe in 1979 and has expanded multiple times since then, including in 2012, when the company invested about $2.5 million in new equipment and jobs. Today, the company employs about 57 workers and continues to develop innovative forming technologies through research and development programs. From 2013 to 2015, the company experienced a 35% average growth in its total international sales to foreign countries.

Matthew Nelson, formerly the general manager at nearby Turbomeca Manufacturing, took over as president at Cyril Bath in January. He shares his thoughts on the company's international business:

How do you target markets for international sales?

What we typically do is follow the international aerospace market. Our key end users are Boeing and Airbus. They have a global supply chain. It’s critical for us to have a keen awareness of where their tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers are located globally. Nine out of 10 times, those will be our customers. Wherever the aerospace market is getting its components from at any one time is where we need to target. For the last decade our primary focus has been in China and Russia. At the end of the day, the international side is important, but the U.S. aerospace market continues to be the largest. The challenge for us is to keep up with the international side while still maintaining an eye on the North American aerospace market.

Describe the challenges of exporting from the Charlotte region

Because we produce heavy machinery — some of our sheet stretch presses can weigh up to 2 million pounds fully assembled — part of our challenge is the logistics of getting everything to the ports and shipped to the end user’s facility, especially internationally. Even though Charlotte has an extensive freight forwarding community, there’s really a limited amount of freight forwarders with the knowledge and experience to handle our kind of products. If you’re shipping standard, containerized cargo, you have lots of options. But a lot of our stuff is shipped in boxes that weigh up to 150,000 pounds, which exceeds the limits of typical logistics equipment. But we have a couple of freight forwarding experts who have relationships with the shipping companies and know how to get in and out of the ports. It’s quite an orchestration.

What concerns you about the global economy right now?

The global economy and the political chaos we have continues to be a concern. Thankfully, the aerospace market is very vibrant right now, and with the number of new aircraft that’s required now to meet the needs of the airlines, the industry is relatively secure. Plus, I feel good about the fact that Warren Buffett invested a significant portion of his fortune in the aerospace market a few years ago.

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