“As far as the perfumery industry is concerned, we must be cautious since the recession, which probably climaxed in the USA, will worsen in Europe,” says Laurent Zuber. In a context of global crisis, “only Brazil and, to a certain extent, China, appear to be able to resist,” he adds.
However, SGD can rely on strong assets, Laurent Zuber explains: “thanks to our global implantation - six plants, seven furnaces, in France, Spain, in the USA, Russia, China and Brazil - we can even out the effects of the current economic cycle”.
Premium Beauty News - Hopefully, the beginning of 2008 was very positive for SGD.
Laurent Zuber - Actually, despite premonitory signs in Spain and in the USA, the first half of 2008 scored a growth rate of 7%. However, from September, everyone witnessed a rapid and general downturn, which was unpredictable. Eventually, we closed 2008 with a growth of more than 2% at fiscal year-end.
Premium Beauty News - So what about the outset of 2009?
Laurent Zuber - Since the beginning of the year, business slowdown has been very strong, with low range visibility over future orders. There has been a massive stock clearance from our customers. Paradoxically, we can already forecast a strong increase of the demand for glass vials as soon as the crisis ends, with a risk that the demand largely exceeds the production capabilities of glassmakers.
Premium Beauty News - What is the best investment policy in such a context?
Laurent Zuber - We carry on our ambitious investment policy, but we have adjusted it to the current economical environment.
Premium Beauty News - And innovation? Is it still possible to make innovative glass products?
Laurent Zuber - Yes, we just demonstrated it with the development of our “Infinite Glass”, which is made of 100% recycled glass and has triggered strong interest. Some of our customers have already initiated creative reflections.
Premium Beauty News - Is it the result of the work of your creative workshop?
Laurent Zuber - SGD’s creative workshop was created five years ago and we are constantly working to develop new technologies and new decorative materials.
The creative workshop contributes to differentiate us from our competitors: all our glass development or decorative innovations are located in one single place. Our customers come there to finalize their projects. Furthermore, this workshop is the place where we create the Trends Books that we present to customers.
Premium Beauty News - SGD participated in major launches during the latest months.
Laurent Zuber - It is not possible to mention all of them here, but let’s point out some most illustrative examples: “For Him” and “For Her” by Narcisso Rodriguez, “One Million” by Paco Rabanne, or “MaDame” by Jean-Paul Gaultier, with a bottle carved like a block of glass.