The “new” Alkos Group is clearly focusing on “providing all the services of its three entities to the actors in the Beauty, make-up and personal care & hygiene segments.” A reformatting that aims at attracting a market increasingly adept of full service and seduced by the French Touch not say Made in France.
Three fields of business
35 million Euros in sales and just a little under 400 people, the Group Alkos currently relies on three distinct activities.
- a first plant in Angers, dedicated to the creation of formulas and the filling of skincare and make-up products, with Intercosmétiques ( 21 million Euros in turnover),
- a second plant in Chartres with Sagal, specialized in the manufacturing of soaps and deo sticks (3.5 million Euros in turnover)
- and the Alkos plant for the manufacture of cosmetic pencils in Boulogne sur Mer (10 million Euros in turnover).
“It has become essential,” explained Dominique Vautier, CEO, "to bring all these activities under a single banner, the Alkos Group. Especially when you know that our offer is quite consistent with the changing beauty market where demand for full service offers continues to grow.”
Made in France pencils
The pencils business is the group’s main asset. Alkos operates a recent plant in Boulogne-sur-Mer (9000 m2 of buildings), built from the ground up in 2003, can produce annually about 28 million units of pencils as well as different applicators or conditioners for eyeliners. The unit also proposes formulation services. “Plastic or wooden pencils still represent our core business,” emphasised Nathalie Dessirier, Marketing Manager.
A true know-how, this pencil manufacturing activity since it dates back to 1784 ! Yes, you read correctly 1784, the year when a company named Conté invented the insertion of a graphite mine in a wooden cylinder. But it was not until 1961 that the first cosmetic pencils emerged. An activity that really took off in 1996, year of its takeover by Gérard Gieux, leading to the creation of Alkos Cosmétiques a entity of its own that eventually decided to go it alone, and separate from the group of origin. And it was in 2008 that Gérard Gieux acquired Intercosmétiques and Sagal, with the aim of building in the end a real industrial group to supply the beauty market.
“You could say that today, this has been done,” explained Vautier. “And the plant in Boulogne-sur-Mer is an integral part of this dynamic both in terms of the new industrial and commercial organization than in terms of product innovation.”
A reorganization that resulted in the arrival of newcomers to reinforce the teams at all levels. several new planning, quality and maintenance managers, a new plant manager, Jean-Paul Mariani, and a new controller and a new sales assistant.
Soaps and deodorizing sticks
It’s actually the same buzzing environment with the two other entities, namely Intercosmétiques and Sagal, specialized for the first one, in the creation of formulas and filling activities (skin care and make-up), in Angers, and for the second one in the manufacture of deodorant sticks and scented soaps, in Chartres.
By a happy coincidence, these two entities will celebrate this year, their twenty-fifth and thirtieth anniversary.
With 30 people and a historical presence in the manufacture of high-end soaps, Sagal ranks high in the list of French companies specialized in this niche market, the biggest activity being the filling and supply of deodorant sticks (70% of the activity).
“The soap market is experiencing a real second youth with the emergence of gift boxes containing true soap collections,” confided Grégoire Hantz, Sales Director. A a result, an increase of over 10% in 2010 on 2008 (base year). “As for the stick,” explained Hantz, "it has remained a product experiencing strong growth and for which we have become throughout the years an increasing source of proposals in terms of formulation.”
Skincare and make-up
As for Intercosmétiques, the entity dedicated to the creation of formulas and to filling activities in Angers, the turnover of the skincare business (20 million units per year) is now on an equal footing with the make-up business (18 million units).
The factory condition creams, gels, milks, lotions, oils and balms. The make-up activity is limited “for the time being” to the manufacture of lipsticks (30% of the activity), lip gloss (20%), but also of foundations, mascaras and eyeshadows. “We have a real expertise in hot filled processes,” insisted Hantz,”without forgetting our capacity for airless packaging. We also have a reputation for providing a real quality of service, particularly in for meeting deadlines."
Formulation is another strong point of Intercosmétiques. “We are far from being mere fillers, since 70% of our business is driven by our ability to formulate and innovate in terms of formulation.”
New product offer
“It is clear that with such a tool,” explained Vautier, “we had the means to become a major European player in formulation, filling and, more generally, in the universe of skincare and make-up. It then seemed only natural to pool our forces. In concrete terms, the Alkos Group is strengthening its offer on turn key projects for which, its ability in managing the development of innovative solutions, the implementation of breakthrough packaging solutions and the conditioning of complete lines, are undoubtedly a number of key assets. And we mustn’t forget the fundamentals which are quality of service and product quality, because the finest product in the world still has to arrive on time at the point of sales, with also the required level of quality.”
From these industrial complementarities could only arise a full range of products with both a specific offer and full service. “It took us a year to develop it,” explained Nathalie Dessirier, “but eventually we reached our goal!”
Starting with a new segmentation: Alkos Pro, Alkos Pro Natural, Alkos Limited et Alkos Colors.
“Alkos Pro, is about achieving results with a formula and gestures. We combine products to obtain a result. We use innovative textures. Alkos Pro Natural, is all about natural and organic textures. With Alkos Limited, we offer ephemeral collections meeting the market’s expectations. Finally Alkos Colors seeks to offer a palette of colours/textures sufficiently representative to create a cosmetic line with reduced development times.”
Upcoming highlights for the group, the Cosmoprof show, which will be the opportunity to present three new series: “Aloha, a summer make-up collection”, “Summer Vibe” and “Fruit” Delights".