As a global leader in fluid transportation, we recognise the critical significance of water as a global issue. Water is the lifeblood of our planet, supporting ecosystems, communities, and economies.

However, it is also a resource under severe stress, from scarcity and pollution to climate change-induced unpredictability. As an innovative player, with a particular emphasis on water, we are uniquely positioned to tackle these challenges head-on.

Our dedication to innovation lies at the heart of our strategy to address the global water crisis and to facilitate the transition to clean energy. We are not just a company; we are a partner to communities worldwide, with a deep understanding of how to respond to the nuances of local markets and global trends.

Our approach is rooted in a commitment to listen to our clients to help us understand the rapidly evolving landscape of water management and clean energy.

Alongside this focus on customer intimacy, we also prioritise co-creation and open innovation, allowing us to collaborate closely with a growing ecosystem of strategic partners, such as universities, startups, local communities, and international experts. Doing so brings us a wider range of ideas and perspectives, deepening our capabilities, and accelerating the time it takes to bring new ideas to the world.

Sophie Desormière, Chief Growth Officer
Sophie Desormière, Chief Growth Officer
Sophie Desormière

Chief Growth Officer

By leveraging cutting-edge technology, research, and development, we aim to pioneer solutions that ensure access to high quality, sustainable supplies of water, prioritising investment in innovations that make a difference. Our comprehensive approach means that, today, we are delivering smarter, more targeted, and more efficient water and clean energy systems, with an increasing focus on complete solutions that are easy to install and operate.

As we move forward, our determination to be a key player in solving global water and clean energy challenges becomes ever more tangible. Through collaboration, innovation, and a constant focus on our customers’ needs, we are committed to making a significant contribution to a future where water, our most precious resource, is managed wisely for all.

Customers first

Customer centricity is pivotal to our innovation efforts and our pursuit of sustainable growth.

Our local teams interact with customers daily, and we have rolled out training across our organisation to continuously improve our ability to capture the customer’s voice. This initiative is already generating deeper insights that are guiding our product development work.

Our Net Promoter Score (NPS), an essential indicator of customer loyalty, has risen impressively from 42 to 50 in 2023, a reflection of our steadfast commitment to excellent customer service.

This progress, a collective achievement across all regions, puts us amongst best-in-class players, underscoring the high level of customer engagement and the outstanding quality of work performed by all our local brands in their mission to delight our customers.

The Global Customer Survey we launched in October allowed us to collect valuable feedback from more than 5,000 customers across 25 countries. The results affirm that we are on the right path and have provided us with a clear guide for future improvements. This feedback is crucial as we strive to further enhance our service and product offerings.

Group Net Promoter Score

42 to 50

Faster time to market

We’re building on a powerful history of innovation going back decades. In the 1960s, for example, it was Nicoll, our brand in France, that led the way in moving away from metal piping systems when it introduced valves, rainwater gutters and pipes made in long-lasting, lighter, hard-wearing, and corrosion-resistant plastic. In the mid-1980s, we developed Cor-Line® Electrical non-metallic Tubing market in North America.

Today, we’re continuing to bring forward great new solutions and we are getting them to market even faster.

This applies across the board – whether that’s systems to distribute, store or treat water, products to transport clean energy resources, such as hydrogen and biogas, or products from our electrical business that benefit from strong tailwinds from the energy transition.

Getting innovative solutions from research to market faster is a key target in our 2025 Growth with Purpose strategy. Our goal is to ensure that by 2025, 10% of our revenues come from new-to-market solutions and we are well on the way to achieving that goal.

In 2023, 8.6% of our sales came from products and systems that are less than five years old, representing sales worth €365 million. This compares with 6.2% in 2022 and is an increase of 33%.

Sales from new products

+33%

India remains the main driver of new product revenues, accounting for 56% of our sales from products and systems that are less than five years old. Our Pacific division has also made great progress, achieving new product revenue in 2023 of 9.7%, partly helped by growing collaboration between our Australian and New Zealand brands and our Bengaluru Research hub in India. Similarly, we see North America’s innovation efforts gaining momentum, with investments in the region resulting in strong growth in local new product revenues.

We continue to build on that strong legacy of inventiveness and, in 2023, brought a host of exciting new solutions to market, including:

  • An extended range of TerraBrute® corrosion-resistant pipes from IPEX in North America, including an industry-first 24” diameter pipe, which means complete drinking water and sewerage systems can now be built in corrosion resistant PVC, making networks more resilient.
  • A new check valve developed in response to stringent new French regulations on preventing water contamination in hospitals and other sensitive buildings.
  • A tech-enabled compact wastewater treatment plant and anti-microbial pipes using silver ion technology in India.
  • New water conservation and stormwater solutions with increased recycled content, including StormFLO® in Australia and Drainflo® in New Zealand.
  • A hi-tech mobile leak detection system and a digital network monitoring solution, created by Aquarius Spectrum, a smart water tech start-up we acquired in 2022.
Electrofusion fittings and fusion units for pipe jointing

Cross-fertilisation

To meet our innovation targets we are also investing in our own resources and streamlining our ways of working together.

Our teams on the ground are at the forefront of our product development work, bringing their local market knowledge to bear.

But, as a global Group serving markets across the world, we have the advantage of being able to share ideas and inventions across the world and adapting them to meet local needs. Increasingly, we are doing just that.

For example, our Philmac brand in Australia has joined forces with our newly acquired Harco business in North America to bring its new range of polymer Curb Stop valves to the US water utility market to replace traditional brass fittings, gaining strong traction with customers.

Our Research hubs play a critical role too and we continue to expand and modernise them, creating space for us to co-create solutions with customers and increasing their ability to share ideas with our product development teams across the world.

Our Paris Research hub, which moved into a new centre in 2022 with extra space dedicated to customer co-creation, is strengthening its capabilities around water and clean energy solutions as well as digital services, while continuing to develop its strong competencies around (sustainable) materials and new jointing technologies.

The Bengaluru hub, leveraging their key expertise in digitalisation and advanced engineering, has boosted its simulation and design capabilities, added a customer experience centre and, in 2023, grew its team of material research scientists. Overall, the hub grew from 44 experts to 64, a quarter of whom are women.

We will equally be opening a new Pilot hub in Toronto in 2024 to improve its research into advanced materials know-how and drive further increased agility in product development with dedicated testing facilities and new 3D-printing capabilities.

Acquisitions to boost our portfolio

We’re speeding up our innovation capacity in other ways, not least through M&A, often with a focus on start-ups developing exciting disruptive technologies.

During the year we acquired Zypho, a highly innovative player in drain water heat recovery. We have been collaborating with this fast-growing company since 2020 on a groundbreaking, energy saving solution to capture the heat from shower wastewater, using it to heat incoming cold water.

By reusing hot water that would normally go down the drain, the system recycles up to 75% of the energy required to heat shower water. It’s also a passive system using gravitation, with no need for extra energy input, and is safe thanks to double layer protection preventing contamination.

We first tested the solution on the French market followed by Spain and Portugal with great success, and we see huge scope to extend the market for this great product much further thanks to our global reach.

In 2023, we introduced a new solution to the market: Zypho Slim50, a compact drain water heat recovery system designed for use in smaller properties and perfectly suited for the renovation market.

Aliaxis Next, created in 2022 to acquire or invest in promising young water tech companies, is leading our search for solutions from start-ups that will help us tackle the water crisis in the long term.

It has made nine investments, totaling over €75 million so far, focusing on four main areas – resilient water infrastructure, sustainable water management, water for food and increasing access to water.

Open innovation

By increasing investment in open innovation projects, we are casting our net as wide as possible for ideas and sharing our own expertise too. This open exchange is so important in finding solutions to the interlinked challenges around climate and water.

A great example is the 50L Home coalition which we have joined, supporting its aspiration to reduce individual water use from a European average of 150 litres a day to just 50 litres. We are now members of Hydrogen Europe, an alliance spearheading the transition to this promising alternative to fossil fuels.

We’re also nurturing entrepreneurs, for instance through The/Nudge Ashirvad Water Challenge in India and the Ekipa project in Europe, both competitions to inspire and reward innovators working on key water-related projects and other future-orientated sustainable solutions.

Through these competitions they get the chance to bring their ideas to life, with the help of our own research scientists and start-ups from the Aliaxis Next ecosystem.

The highly collaborative environment we are creating not only fosters innovation but is actively shaping how the world will tackle climate and water challenges well into the future.

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