Thuasne is making a big new investment in Saint-Etienne. Its new site, called Agora, was inaugurated on June 5th in the presence of the Minister of State for the Digital Sector.

Thuasne is the European leader for medical and athletic textiles. Founded in 1847, the company first specialized in ribbons, and then elastic fabrics, before making a strategic reorientation in the 1930s. Since then, Thuasne has been fully dedicated to the design, marketing and distribution of medical textiles. The company began internationalizing in 1990, creating numerous subsidiaries in Europe and the United States. Thuasne reported sales of more than 180 million euros in 2014 (up from 158 million euros in 2012), 40% of which were exports.

Located in Saint-Etienne since 1912, the group set up four of its sites there (R&D and logistics), for which it employs nearly 400 people. A fifth 2,600 sq. meter facility will increase Thuasne’s presence in the area. Agora, an investment worth 4 million euros, is a building designed to support the digital transformation of the company. Designed to foster exchange and collaboration, it will feature the group’s sales offices as well as a showroom, a fab lab for testing new products (open to the area’s students) and a demonstration space (dedicated to clients). This new structure will be connected to the other subsidiaries thanks to communication technology (the Internet, video conferencing, etc.) and will use many digital devices for meetings and training sessions.

This is an important new project for Saint-Etienne and a factor of attractiveness for Lyon Metropole, whose coverage area now includes Saint-Etienne.