Company History


The company ZHENDRE originates from the family business founded after the Second World War by Robert, Paul and Louis ZHENDRE respectively grandfather, uncle and father of the current CEO Alexandre ZHENDRE.

It is in this context that the first autonomous refrigerated container was manufactured in 1950.

In 1955, Louis ZHENDRE decides to create his own company under the name ACFT Louis ZHENDRE. The acronym ACFT which stands for “Ateliers de Constructions Frigorifiques Tropicales ” (transl. Workshops for Tropical Refrigeration Construction) marks the offset of the company’s specialisation in refrigeration equipment for hot countries, and its international orientation.

At the end of the 50s, the company takes decisive action. In the framework of oil and gas exploration in the Algerian desert, ZHENDRE participates in a famous mission known as “Berliet – Ténéré” which entails the crossing of Algeria to Chad.

The experience gained from this sub-Saharan epic will be the basis of the development of the refrigeration for extreme conditions activity.

In 1960, the company ZHENDRE moves to Villenave d’Ornon near Bordeaux, on a site with an area of ​​33,000 m2.

ZHENDRE, a family business in its third generation, which became a limited company in 1995, pursues its strategy of controlled growth, thus ensuring a prominent place worldwide in its market sector, while maintaining the flexibility and responsiveness of an SME, with up to one hundred employees.


ZHENDRE moves to Villenave d’Ornon

Usine Zhendre


As of 1960, while continuing to equip the oil and gas camps, notably in Southern Algeria, ZHENDRE began to equip the FRENCH ARMY in refrigerated containers.

These containers have been deployed on sites as diverse as CHAD, the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, MAURITANIA, SENEGAL, GABON, IVORY COAST, DJIBOUTI etc…

At the same time as it strengthens its presence in the industrial refrigeration market, the company enters a new field of activity, air conditioning, which it develops under its own brand ZENITHAIR.

This activity first began in foreign markets, mainly tropical countries with demanding customers (oil companies, life base manufacturers, construction companies, etc.).


In 1985, the UNITED NATIONS, with UNIFIL in Lebanon, also adopted ZHENDRE refrigerated containers to equip their Peacekeeping missions. Since then, many UN Missions use ZHENDRE refrigerated containers.


It is after the Gulf war of 1991 that the French Army realised the necessity of air conditioned tents to shelter their personnel during their interventions in the field of operation where ambient temperatures could reach up to +55°C.

By combining its own experience of REFRIGERATION and AIR CONDITIONING in EXTREME CONDITIONS and that of the specialists in this domain in the French Land and Air Forces, ZHENDRE created a large range of tent air conditioners which today equip, besides the French Army, the European Corp, the NATO commandments as well as approximately fifteen other foreign armies.

The “Shelter” air conditioners, of which THALES is the principal client, complete this range of ZHENDRE military air conditioners.

A partir des années 2000

After having consolidated its development over the past 20 years due to its two flagship products: refrigerated containers and tent air conditioners, Zhendre gradually expands its range by way of containerised systems that complement its traditional offer of refrigerated containers, as well as specific air conditioners designed and manufactured according to the specifications of its customer. This new offer is part of a strategic plan named “CAP 60”, set up for the period 2014-2015, which is largely dedicated to innovation. Zhendre who will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015 (hence the choice of CAP 60) now has the means to fulfill its ambition to respond better and more extensively to the expectations of its clients operating mostly in Extreme Conditions. This is the meaning of the new Zhendre signature “Solutions aux Conditions Extrêmes.”


ZHENDRE becomes a member of GICAT (French Land Defence Manufacturers Association).