irresistible growth of Saint-Michel plant

The development is such that the group is ready to invest more than 10 million euros in Champagnac-de-Belair. “The company is doing well, there is a commercial dynamic …

The development is such that the group is ready to invest more than 10 million euros in Champagnac-de-Belair. “The company is doing well, there is a commercial momentum,” confirms Yann Gomez, director of the company, who organized a factory visit on Thursday, March 31. In general, the growth of the group reaches 4-5% per year. The sector has even benefited from the “Covid effect”, which has boosted the success of individual sachets. “We’ve done the equivalent of three years in one year,” explains Christophe Pollet, director of industrial operations for the group.


Madeleine is the flagship product of the factory. From September, a new production line will be launched for it.

Philip Griller

Purchased in 2011 by a group headquartered in Contres, Loir-et-Cher, the Périgord Vert plant continues to grow. In 1969, the 600 m² workshop employed 100 people, compared to 300 today on the 18,000 m² site. There are a total of nine production lines for the production of madeleines and palm-type biscuits. The factory still produces “ready-to-fill” products (cake baskets, à la reine rolls, etc.) for the food industry, historically at the heart of the business. A total of 13,500 tons of these products leave Champagnac-de-Bélair every year and are distributed throughout France and, increasingly, around the world. From 15 to 20% of the turnover is exported.

Madeleine production is automated.

Madeleine production is automated.

Philip Griller

The employees (246 permanent employees and about 50 temporary workers) mainly work in packaging or auxiliary functions, and the main production is mainly carried out by machines. The factory operates 7 days a week and 24 hours a day with, depending on the lines, work at night or on weekends.

“The most important thing for us is to know how to be. We don’t stop at resumes”

Although Champagnac-de-Belair is one of the group’s four largest companies, it will continue to grow and recruit another 60 employees by September. “We have to deal with our local roots, in the countryside,” emphasizes Yann Gomez. We want to live virtuously by cooperating with associations or municipalities and promoting life in Périgord-Vert. With these hires, the company wants to anticipate future retirements, strengthen support functions and, of course, operate a new production line.

Yann Gomez before the start of the production line.

Yann Gomez before the start of the production line.

Philip Griller

But like many employers, especially in the Dordogne, Saint-Michel faces difficulties in hiring. “Our strategy is based on openness,” says Yann Gomez. For us, the most important thing is to know how to be. We don’t stop at resumes, we want to find people who will do well in the company. » The job profiles to be filled represent different skill levels. Operator, machinist, forklift driver, maintenance technician, electrician: the needs are numerous. “The prospects are real because our strategy is to train employees within the company,” adds the manager.

Fabian Hachimi, who joined the company as a temporary worker in 2017, is a good illustration of this growth opportunity. “Initially, I was a temporary mixer assistant for two months,” says the 30-year-old. Then I went on a fixed-term contract, but since I live far away, I asked for a raise. Then I was offered to put it in the oven. In 2018, I signed an indefinite contract and now I am a line manager and I feel good there. Hired in January 2022, 19-year-old Benjamin Belbahir is already a machine operator. History repeats itself for Jonathan Laplaud, who returned in December 2019 on a temporary basis and is now a line driver and therefore in charge of the team. As for salaries, Yann Gomez points out that they vary “depending on position, hours or even length of service.”

Little by little, Saint-Michel is rejuvenating his teams. The median age is now 34 and there are still about 40 vacancies. “What candidates need is a desire to participate and learn,” sums up Frank Garsmør, Group Human Resources Director.

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