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Benjamin

Gaszynski – Managing Director, Bardot AsiaPacific

25.02.2015 / Energyboardroom

Mr. Gaszynski, Managing Director of Bardot AsiaPacific, discusses the company’s expansion into the Asia Pacific market via the Kuala Lumpur office, Bardot’s role as the only subsea polymer company to manufacture in Asia, and the savings offered by these subsea polymer products.

Mr. Gaszynski, as the Managing Director of Bardot AsiaPacific (subsidiary of Bardot Group), can you please introduce the company and its evolution to our international readers ?

Bardot Group is a French-based company that was incorporated ten years ago. We specialize in the knowledge of all technical and specific polymers, which are developed and designed to be used as equipment for subsea offshore. Previously our CEO Mr. Bardot headed a polymer manufacturing company, and he noticed that the share of oil and gas within the business was growing. As such, he decided to incorporate Bardot Group to focus on engineering and manufacturing polymers for this industry.

Our core business is to develop polymers that have abilities in extreme environments, up to 25 or 30 years underwater. Bardot Group thus fills in the missing link between Technip and the polymer factories. Our expertise, thanks to our staff’s extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, means that we understands the needs of the EPCC and E&P companies. Over the years, the company has grown with new products being added on in our domain of expertise, subsea offshore. To give just one example, over seven years, we multiplied turnover twenty-fold.

What would you consider your main achievements since arriving to head operations in Malaysia?

I joined the company nearly eight years ago in France. Prior to taking up my position as Managing Director in Malaysia, I ran Bardot Group’s project department in La Ciotat, in the south of France.

For me, the first and main achievement was to incorporate the company in Malaysia as a foreigner. It was also my first experience starting and running a company. I am a mechanical engineer by training, and to take on business development and to manage operations here represented an achievement. Furthermore meeting the different potential clients to know and helping them to understand our company was another important step.

Bardot Group hosts offices in France, Malaysia, USA and Brazil. Can you share with us why Bardot chose Malaysia specifically in its international expansion?

In 2009, Bardot Group decided to open its first international outfit, a manufacturing plant in Houston US, and, in 2011, we opened an office in Brazil. This office lay dormant for a few years but has since been relaunched with a local staff member to develop activities.

In January, 2012, I came to Malaysia to look into regional opportunities. We knew there was market, but we did not yet have contacts with clients, except Technip in Perth. Our first step in the region was to develop staff for the Australian market. By 2013, we had already signed a couple of contracts in the region and recognizing further potential, we decided to incorporate a local outfit and establish Kuala Lumpur as our regional HQ.

How has Kuala Lumpur served as a springboard for the region?

Bardot Group looked into setting up regional offices in both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and we opted for Kuala Lumpur for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic hub to travel all around Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific. It is thus very easy to reach clients in the region, as it is as simple to take a plane here as a train in Europe. In the region, we are looking at setting up an outfit in Indonesia because it has very specific rules regarding local content, and in 2015-2016 our major targets in the region will be Indonesia and China.

Bardot Group provides Subsea Polymer Products, Bend Stiffeners, Buoys, Polyurethane Protection System with a European standard of technology. What is Bardot Group’s competitive advantage in Malaysia compared to other subsea suppliers?

Bardot Group acts within a small niche market with few players worldwide. For example, there are only four or five names in the world for buoys. Our main competitors are much bigger than us are well known in the oil and gas world. Sometimes these companies take advantage of this fact, price wise or delivery wise. We are the new player rising, and we offer alternative solutions to the market.

Our portfolio in Malaysia is the global portfolio, with all our products used in the region. All of our projects are customized, and the specifications and design of each project will depend upon water depth and other factors. As such, we re-engineer each time, keeping in mind previous project learnings and new engineering developments.

In Malaysia and Asia Pacific more widely, our major competitors are not locally implanted. They may have agents or representatives on the ground, but they do not have a local yearly presence. This local physical presence is invaluable, as any time a client calls with an issue, I am able to meet directly with project managers and solve problems immediately.

At Bardot Group, we bring value in terms of innovation. In Asia Pacific, we are innovative both in the product offering and that we are the first subsea polymer company to actually undertake manufacturing locally. For small companies, we also add value in terms of our support services, as we contribute to the design of systems and the implementation of installation procedures, as well as for training on installation.

Finally, Bardot Group offers enormous savings for our equipment compared to other companies, especially in terms of installation costs.

Bardot Group already boasts an impressive client list including Technip and PETRONAS. What has been your strategy to develop such a customer base here in Asia Pacific? What are the typical target companies?

Our typical clients are the EPC companies, such as Saipem, Subsea7, Technip, McDermott, Swiber, Bumi Armada, and Larsen & Toubro in India, as well as cable companies. We also target smaller companies such as Malaysian local companies that have obtained their first eight to ten million dollar contracts with PETRONAS. We can share our knowledge with these companies, as they are new on the market and need information, for example, on how to install and accessorize a cable.

Major oil companies will know the products we offer at Bardot Group without knowing our company specifically and the fact that we have an office in Malaysia with project managers, engineering capacity and manufacturing. Our target is to raise knowledge of Bardot Group and create opportunities in the region. Our strategy is to establish partnerships with either contractors or even E&P companies via the engineering people, as we know our strength is engineering. Our equipment is not stand up, and we engineer and design to add value. We are also participating in exhibitions to help spread the word about our presence here.

How has Bardot Group in Asia performed in 2014?

2014 was a year for great achievement for Bardot Group in Asia Pacific, as we signed two very big contracts in the region, one with a client in Singapore and another with a client in Australia. These two projects helped to demonstrate the importance of Bardot Group hosting an office here in Malaysia and have allowed me to grow the subsidiary.

In March 2015, the Kuala Lumpur office will reach eight or nine people, and by the end of the year we will be approaching 15. This will represent a tripling of staff compared to 2014 and is quite impressive considering we started three years ago with nothing.

What equipment/project would you highlight that you are most pride of and demonstrates Bardot Group’ capabilities in its fullest in Asia?

In Asia Pacific, I am most proud of the project in Australia for Ichthys gas development. Bardot Group is providing a big piece to support the laying of the export line, a very large polymer totaling nearly two tons per piece. This contract is the biggest so far in terms in numbers for Bardot Group in the region and also represents a particular challenge in terms of manufacturing, qualification and testing. The timeline for delivery has also been quite tight.

Globally, the French headquarters recently won a $10 million project in Abu Dhabi, the largest project in the company’s history. To put some perspective on the value of the project for the client, our provision of subsea equipment will save the client approximately five to eight times the project value.

How do you feel Bardot Group in Malaysia is perceived by local clients?

PETRONAS, for example, sees with a very good eye that an overseas company sets up in Malaysia, manufactures locally, sets up JVs and partners, and overall contributes value to the country and growth of the industry. They furthermore appreciate doing business with a foreigner who speaks some bahasa and understands business in Asia.

Looking towards the future, what is your vision for Bardot Group in Malaysia and Asia Pacific in the coming years?

Bardot Group as a whole would like to multiply turnover ten-fold in this period, which would entail an eight-fold increase in staff. In Malaysia, this will translate into 40 or 50 staff in Malaysia, as well as 15 or 20 staff in Indonesia, the same in China, and perhaps in India as well. We will also looking to offer more integrated and larger projects.

To read more articles and interviews from Malaysia, and to download the latest free report on the country, click here.

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