Nicholas Whitley, CEO of the KDC/One Group

Nicholas Whitley, CEO of the KDC/One Group

If you remember: In March 2018, Nicholas Whitley, CEO of the KDC/One Group, had announced in an interview to Premium Beauty News that after acquiring five businesses in three years, he was targeting a twofold increase in sales in the next coming months, adding that the billion dollar target in revenues was in sight and that the next steps for external growth could very well be in Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, in June 2018, the Alkos Group was inaugurating its brand new Inter Cosmétiques factory in Angers, France. An investment of 12 million euros including buildings over a surface area of 17,000 m² on a site of 46,000 m² (three times the surface of the previous site), R&D laboratories (800 m2) and administrative premises (900 m2).

This investment enabled Inter Cosmétiques to increase its manufacturing capacity by nearly 40%, and to leverage on a bulk manufacturing workshop boasting the best international standards, while also gaining in competitiveness through a consolidated service offer.

A strategic rapprochement!

Gérard Gieux, founder and owner of the Alkos Group

Gérard Gieux, founder and owner of the Alkos Group

A year later, this acquisition by the Canadian Group becomes a reality! For Nicholas Whitley, CEO of KDC/One, "the Alkos Group is deeply rooted in the cosmetics industry and has an unparalleled reputation for innovation and product quality. Its customer-centric vision will give KDC/One strategic access to the European market and to unique technologies that will strengthen our leading position in high-end beauty products. We look forward to working with the Alkos team and with our partners at Cornell Capital in order to leverage on the entire product portfolio, further diversify our customer base, and seize cross-selling opportunities benefiting all stakeholders involved."

And for Gérard Gieux, founder and owner of the Alkos Group, "thanks to KDC/One, the Alkos Group will have access to the financial resources it needs to continue making the investments that will help strengthen its strategic position in the market. The Group is excited to enter new markets and continue to offer quality products to its current and future customers alongside a trusted partner who shares its values, in order to grow its business in the long-term."

KDC/One, a skyrocketing growth!

Over the past six years, the Canadian group KDC/One, headquartered in Longueuil, Quebec, has undergone a significant transformation, mainly through successive acquisitions across all sub-contracting beauty sectors. The Group, which achieved sales of $ 950 million, employs some 4,800 people in Canada and the United States. Indeed, the KDC Group (Knowlton Development Corporation) has quite a track record! It all started in 2002 with the creation of the Emballages Knowlton Company, with a staff of 300 people and sales of $ 80 million. In 2003, the Novacap Investment Fund took control of the Company. The first acquisitions took place in 2007 with Tri Tech Laboratories and Body Blue Inc. But it is really in 2014 that things started gaining momentum with the launch of the Novacap Industries IV Fund, which gave the Group the means for its expansion. In January 2015, KDC acquired ChemAid Laboratories Company, a formulator and manufacturer of skincare, hair care and bath and body care products located in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. On October 14 and 21 of the same year, KDC acquired the Kolmar Laboratories and Acupac Packaging Companies to the Kolmar Labs, a New York formulator and manufacturer of make-up and skincare products, as well as Cosmetic Technologies, a Californian cosmetics contract manufacturer; an acquisition which allowed the Canadian Group to gain a foothold on the West Coast.

The external growth momentum continued with the takeover, on November 16, 2016, of the Thibiant International Company, based in Chatsworth, California, a formulator and manufacturer of personal care and skincare products. On November 9, 2017, KDC took over Aromair Fine Fragrance, a full-service Company specialised in home fragrances, based in New Albany, Ohio. One month later, on December 12, KDC officials announced the acquisition of Northern Labs, a contract manufacturer, located in Wisconsin, specialising in liquid, gel, lotion, and paste products dedicated to personal and home care markets. And to further state the message according to which KDC/One is committed to be the leader and a showcase when it comes to innovations, the network of companies launched a state-of-the-art Innovation Lab in the summer of 2018 in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. In November 2018, KDC/One joined forces with Cornell Capital, a private equity firm with offices in New York and Hong Kong, to expand its international growth, invest in high-end product innovation and strengthen its production resources.

Cornell Capital LLC is a U.S. private investment firm with $3 billion of capital under management. With offices in New York and Hong Kong. "Partnering with strong and entrepreneurial management teams," detailed the release, "the company takes a value-oriented approach for investing in the financial, industrial and consumer sectors." Henry Cornell, the former Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Merchant Banking Division, founded Cornell Capital in 2013.

With the Alkos Group, KDC/One now operates thirteen production units in North America and France and employs more than 5,200 people for sales totalling more than $ 1 billion.

Alkos Group: a success story of its own!

In 1996, Gérard Gieux set foot in the formulation and manufacture of cosmetics products with the acquisition of Alkos Cosmétiques, a French manufacturer of make-up pencils, previously named Conté Cosmétiques, owned by the BIC Group. In 2008, Gérard Gieux founded the Alkos Group following the acquisition of two other French companies, Inter Cosmétiques (make-up and skincare products) and Sagal Cosmétiques (scented soaps and deo sticks). In 2014, to support an ambitious investment programme, he called on the MBO Partenaires Investment Fund, which had become the majority shareholder (51%) of the Holding Company (AAXEN). The latter included the Alkos Group and Cosmogen, a company specialised in packaging solutions and applicators, also created by Gérard Gieux in 1982. After a rapid growth of all these entities, in March 2017, the sale of Cosmogen (fully taken over by MBO Partenaires) allowed the Alkos Group to repay all of its senior debt and to consider continuing its investment programme by taking advantage of the construction of the new Inter Cosmétiques plant in Angers and of the development of innovative products.

2011 was a turning point for the French Group. Because, at the time, under the leadership of its new management team, both the image of a now full-fledged Group will be strengthened, and the products and services offer also considerably expanded. French and proud to be! "It is not by chance if we wanted to assert our feeling of belonging to the long-standing expertise for the manufacture of French cosmetics, with our small Eiffel Tower at the centre of our communication," explained that year, Florence Lefeuvre, Group Sales VP, Marketing & Communication, in an interview to Premium Beauty News. Especially since this expertise of the Alkos Group is quite actual. First line of development at the time: reinforce the image of the Group in its own right, which concentrated on the one hand, the know-how of Alkos, the only manufacturer of made-in-France make-up pencils praised by export markets, and on the other of Inter Cosmétiques, specialized in the formulation and manufacture of cosmetics and skincare products and finally of Sagal Cosmétiques, a manufacturer of scented soaps and deo sticks. Second line: highlight the capacity for innovation and the full extent of the offer of these three entities: Make-up in all its texture forms, personal care products, scented soaps and deos. Third line: invest at the industrial level to sustain growth. A comprehensive and attractive offer combined with a "product repositioning" and industrial investments that will have borne fruit eight years later.