Premium Beauty News - How has Augros been doing since the beginning of the year?

Didier Bourgine - We became a listed company in 1997 and we have just published our 2023 sales figures: they reached about EUR 20.8 million, representing a 2% growth compared with 2022, although there has been a slowdown since June 30th, when we were up 13%. In fact, just like the market as a whole, we experienced a downturn in the last quarter due to a global period of destocking following the Covid pandemic. Therefore, our business slightly slowed down at the start of the year, but if market figures are anything to go by, sales are still growing, so the destocking event should be temporary, and it should all pick up again in the second quarter. We do expect a number of launches from all brands, which confirms a reassuring dynamism foretelling brisk business towards the end of 2024.

Premium Beauty News - What are the company’s strengths in such a context?

Didier Bourgine - Well, those of an SME that has invested heavily in recent years. First, we invested on a massive scale, in packaging, i.e. in plastics processing, between 2010 and 2015, so now we have a highly automated production facility. Since 2018, we have also stepped up our investments in surface treatment at our plant in Normandy. In this area, the plant was totally manual five years ago, and it is now 60% automated. It represents a major investment totalling more than EUR 7 million over five years for this division.

Premium Beauty News - Why did you decide to invest in surface treatment?

Didier Bourgine - Because it is necessary, both to improve the reliability of industrial processes and to optimize costs. But also to respond to environmental and CSR constraints, which drive us to improve the quality of our processes and treatments by increasingly using high solid coatings, and therefore to significantly reduce our use of solvents and VOC emissions. Ten years ago, our high solid coating/solvent ratio was 20/80, and in three years’ time it will be 80/20. It is a small chemical revolution in terms of the nature of the products we use to carry out our surface treatments, whether varnishing, lacquering or vacuum metallization, which are the basis of our expertise in this field.

Premium Beauty News - Do you also meet CSR constraints in the plastics sector?

Didier Bourgine - In this area, we will be increasing our use of recycled materials from 20% to over 75% within the next two years. Today, the injected parts we make have a ratio of recycled materials of about 40%. They are mainly based on rPET or PPr that we buy, and the rest comes from the sprues recycled from the products we manufacture. We are also developing new products with materials that are 100% recyclable in the ferrous metals sector. That is an excellent alternative to Zamak – both aesthetically pleasing and more economical.

Premium Beauty News - With two production sites based in Normandy – Alençon for plastics and Val au Perche for finishing –, employing over 175 people, you meet the needs of many players in the luxury market, particularly high-end perfumes, with tailor-made products (jars, caps, bottles). What are your development plans, in particular on the global scale?

Didier Bourgine - There are a great many luxury brands in France, and most of those that are not French have their R&D pack or even purchasing centre in Paris, so when you are lucky enough to be two hours from Paris, you are lucky enough to be two hours from the decision-makers of 80% of the global market! So, we are not looking to expand internationally in the short term, but rather to consolidate our existing customer base and attract new customers.

We are fortunate to be a company with over 100 years’ experience, so we have a great deal of expertise in developing packaging for the luxury market, as well as a base of high-performance suppliers for supplements.

We also pride ourselves on our agility and speed of development and execution, since we integrated a mechanical engineering workshop that enables us to move very quickly through the final development phases, between the presentations of the first parts and the final approvals. Finally, we are now in a position to automate our processes and ensure the reliability and repeatability needed to guarantee quality and dependable supply for our customers.