The beginnings…

1985 - 1990 : A tale of three buddies

That’s how it all started: Philippe, Jean-François and Laurent met at school, in Lyon, and together they attended courses in regulation and automation. They acquired the basics and the technical culture that soon became the trademark of Cira Concept, and later, of EKIUM. A few years their senior, Richard, made good use of this lead to develop a top-notch network in the provision of services dedicated to instrumentation and distributed control systems, where he became a reference.

The three childhood friends started off by working for Richard, grinding their teeth in engineering and by working on-site for petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries… They moved from one project to another, building up experience, reputation and connections. With Richard as the main driver, they created Cira Concept, at an age where others were still completing their studies. This name came as an obvious choice for them all: C for Control, I for Instrumentation, R for Regulation, and A for Automation.


Creation of Cira Concept

The funders (from left to right)
Laurent PERRIN, Richard SEBAG
Jean-François AZNAR, Philippe LANOIR

1990 - 1994 : From a busines incubator... to the Siberian forests

In 1990, the three business friends took up their quarters in a business incubator in Saint-Fons, in the heart of the chemical valley. As a nursery, the particularity of an incubator was to foster germination and growth, and soon the space proved too narrow to accommodate Vincent, François, Dominique and all the others… they moved into their own premises.

Long-term win-win partnerships were forged, and to date, we remain committed to working alongside our very first clients: EDF, Rhône-Poulenc Silicones – now known as Bluestar Silicones and the Rhône-Poulenc Centre de Recherche, which has now become Solvay…

As projects expanded in scale and importance, so too did the challenges and complications, just as for the mobile robotics park project on a nuclear plant. But as a group, we pulled together, thought together and found solutions together.

As our ever-demanding clients started to trust us more and more, Cira Concept became, within five years, the leader in instrumentation and distributed control systems in Rhône-Alpes. We therefore, began prospecting beyond French borders. In 1993, the team automated a chalet production plant for an American company in the heart of Siberia! A real adventure and a true success that paved the way for other projects: The international market represented 20% of the group’s turnover.

1995 - 2001 : From Burkina Faso to the Mediterranean, via Grenoble and Bron

A milestone was set in 1995 with the creation of the 2C Services subsidiary. Initially dedicated to consultancy, 2C Services developed its expertise in piping and general installation, instrumentation and electricity, thereby broadening the range of services offered by Cira Concept. Pierre, Fabrice, Stéphane and Sébastien joined the group, followed by Maguy, David, Jacques, Imad… In 1996, Cira Concept undertook its first fuel and gas storage project on behalf of the ‘Société Burkinabé d’Hydrocarbures.’ This was an opportunity to initiate a long-term collaboration in this sector with the Parlym Group.

1997 was another defining year, with the creation of a branch in Grenoble, the first of a long series of projects carried out for Sanofi Pasteur – bioreactor automation – and a ground-breaking event: the construction of the group’s head office in Bron. Very quickly, the need for expansion was felt!

In 1998, like all our French compatriots, we painted our faces blue, white and red; we’d reached the World Cup final and we became world champions! It was also a landmark year for the company … this time in the fine chemicals sector, with the automation of a Beclomethasone and Salbutamol production and packaging plant for 3M Santé. The Life Sciences sector accounted for 20% of the group’s turnover.

The year 2000 witnessed the signing of the first framework agreement in the electricity engineering, instrumentation and automation sectors. Established with entities that later became INEOS and PETROINEOS, this new partnership spurred Lionel on to embark upon the ‘Cira Concept Méditerranée’ venture, together with François, Nicolas, Jérôme and Denis… A fabulous human adventure that still lasts today.

During the same period in Lyon, the Laboratory Robotics activity developed, with the first client, Rhône-Poulenc Agrochimie, that became Bayer CropScience.


Creating the Cira Concept Méditerranée subsidiary 

(Society dedicated in the industrial and building advice)


Lunch offices in Paris and Martigues


Creation of 2C Service

(Society dedicated in industrial and building advice)

2002 - 2008 : From Cira Concept to EKIUM Group

In 2002, a symbolic figure was reached! Cira Concept was entrusted with its first project exceeding €1 million from Rhodia Centre de Recherches.

More important projects followed suit; in 2003, Sanofi Pasteur assigned a €6 million-project to Cira Concept related to the production of vaccines against poliomyelitis. A year later, it was the Russian group, Toaz, that entrusted Cira Concept with the conception and supply of equipment for an ammonia storage and shipping terminal situated on the shores of the Black Sea for an amount of €7 million. The methods used through these projects, the planning and the expertise mobilised were all developmental and foreshadowed the evolution of Cira Concept towards a multidisciplinary engineering group.

In 2005, a first multidisciplinary technical engineering agreement was signed with Areva, and since then, other contracts have been worked out to ensure an ongoing partnership with this key player in the nuclear industry.

In line with the need to offer a full range of automation and engineering expertise, customer proximity represented a serious, if not vital, matter. Cira Concept therefore developed its network of subsidiaries: Myria, an automation company based in Paris, was integrated in 2004, the Saint-Avold and Pierrelatte branches came into being in 2007… All these represented great opportunities for wonderful challenges and encounters; Stéphanie, Laurent, Dorothée and Christian came to bolster the team…

2007 was also the year of the takeover of Atecas Seat Ingénierie and Setram, both of them subsidiaries of our partner Parlym and specialised in the design of storage facilities for chemical and petroleum products, and in the survey and supervision of piping and general installation works. This venture witnessed the strengthening of the group’s position, through the influx of some seventy expert technicians and engineers, besides the solid anchoring provided into major industrial sites. As we worked alongside Agnès, former horse riding champion, Estelle, Pol, Pierre-Yves, Crystel, Daniel, Valérie and all the Atecas Seat Ingénierie teams, we got to know each other and discover the values and perspectives we have in common. The group by then employed 320 people and generated a turnover of €24 million via its 6 companies: Cira Concept, Cira Concept Méditerranée, 2C Service, Myria, Setram, and Atecas Seat Ingénierie.

The time was then ripe for these companies to materialise their ability to work together at an organisational level. In 2008, the merger of the 6 companies into one entity became a reality. A common name that represented each company was thought up. And that name would be EKIUM.

That same year, the group completed an engineering procurement and construction Management mission in view of the transformation of a fuel depot situated at the Brest Naval Base and destined for the army fuel service. The CAPEX for this project exceeded €6 million. Building on this success, in 2014, the group won the bid for a contract to overhaul the oil installations at the Naval Base of Toulon, this time for a CAPEX exceeding €70 million!


Creation of the brand Ekium


Atecas Seat 
Ingénierie and Setram Technologies integration

Creation of Saint-Avold and Pierrelatte offices 


Integration of the company Myria

(engineering and technical studies)

2009 - 2017 : From Luxembourg to Havre, from Béarn to Mauritius.

The economic crisis of 2009 did not slow down Ekium’s growth. Instead, the group experienced a dynamic and reasoned growth, without ever departing from its values: passion, team spirit, professionalism, commitment and respect.

In 2010, it was up to the building services engineering company, GLI, to join the group with its 40 experts in buildings public health and electrical services and in security systems led by André, an INSA Engineer and rugby lover from the Basque country. Ekium also welcomed Thierry, Lucie, Christelle, Jean-Christophe, Khaled, Yann, Martine and Odile… GLI also boasted of solid references from its involvement in prestigious projects: Crédit Agricole, JP Morgan, RATP, SNCF, several ministries, EDF…

Branches in Pau and Le Havre were set up in 2011, and the one in Toulouse, in 2013. Stéphane, another big rugby fan and the person in charge of the Toulouse agency, established a partnership in automation with Airbus, which enabled EKIUM to become a top-tier supplier for this flagship of European industry. 2013 was also the year of integration of the Paris-based very small enterprise, SMG, and of its experts in buildings’ public health and electrical services, namely Gérard, Stéphane, Philippe…

In 2014, after Didier launched Ekium Benelux, the group’s international portfolio experienced a boost, which continued till 2015, with the setting up of the Mauritian company CONSULTEC within the group. Besides providing an opening on Africa and the Middle East countries, Consultec brought strong competences in engineering and project management to the Ekium group, as well as a perfect mastery of 3D Laser Scanning technology. A former high-level athlete who participated in the hammer and discus throw heats at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Dominique introduced us to his 40 employees in the company which he founded and leads: Rishi, Anwar, Jovind, Sweetie …

En 2014, un coup d’accélérateur à l’international est donné avec le démarrage par Didier de l’activité d’Ekium Benelux. Cette orientation se poursuit avec en 2015 l’arrivée dans le groupe de la société Mauricienne Consultec. Au-delà de l’ouverture vers l’Afrique et les pays du Moyen Orient, Consultec apporte au groupe Ekium de fortes compétences en ingénierie et management de projet et la parfaite maîtrise de la technologie 3D Laser Scanning. Dominique son patron-fondateur (et ancien athlète de haut niveau : il a lancé le marteau et le disque aux JO de Los Angeles !!!) nous présente ses 40 collaborateurs : Anwarn, Jovind, Sweetie, Percy …

Still in 2015, Ekium further enriched its expertise in industrial project management for design and work supervision with the arrival of 30 collaborators from SOFRAST and SOFRAST INTERNATIONAL. Maryannick, Julien, Michel, Laurence … joined our ranks.

By the end of 2015, it was time for the Ekium agency of Marseille to begin its operations. A team specialised in nuclear technology was constituted around Bertrand. We recruited Séverine, Aziz, Olivier…

In 2017, the Ekium group, still led by Philippe, Laurent, and Jean-François, who welcomed a second Jean-François on board in 2012,  employs over 850 people through its 17 subsidiaries, with a turnover of €80 million.


New branches in Mulhouse and Rouen


Acquisition of Consultec

Industrial engineering and building specialized in retro engineering thanks to the 3D scan expertise

Acquisition of 2 business assets

Sofrast and Sofrast International

Oppening an office in Paris la Défense


 New offices in Luxembourg and Cherbourg

Creation of the brand
Ekium Automation


New offices in Toulouse and Chaumont


Jean-François YOT joins Ekium

As Operations Chief Executive 


Creation offices in Havre and Pau


Integration of GLI, SBE et D-Ways societies

(building engineering)


Craation of a branch in Cadarache

(building engineering)