Premium Beauty News - The sharp drop of the market at the end of 2008 and early 2009 was followed by a timid recovery in September 2009 to end up with a historical recovery since November. What’s your feedback?
Claudio Contini - It is true that we went through an extraordinary period, from all points of view and in the literal sense. Personally, I had never seen that before. Imagine that for the aerosol filling machines we didn’t book any orders during the last 3 months of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. Consider that during the same period orders on pumps, valves and spray caps had fallen by some 20%. It is only as of May 2009 that a hesitant recovery occurred. It increased significantly in June and then September.
Eventually, and thanks to the strong rebound in October, November and December 2009, we ended the year with a reduced decrease of our turnover. What was unusual during that period was the huge drop of what I call “consumables” and the very long period during which we booked no machine orders. We had truly never experienced such a situation before.
Premium Beauty News - With disparities depending on the countries where you were operating?
Claudio Contini - The situation was better not necessarily in the countries you are thinking about. In our case, we performed well in the United States, South America and … France. A country where we even increased our market share, thanks mainly to the L’Oréal Group and the Fareva Group with whom we strengthened our positions. On the other hand, Germany, Holland, Spain and the UK suffered a lot, like Greece, North Africa and of course Russia, where no one was buying anything in the first half of 2009.
Premium Beauty News - What about the Asian area?
Claudio Contini - As you may remember, we have invested in a factory in India in 2008, with the aim to bring local production to a level comparable to an European one, with the same standards of quality and service, but still profiting from the "best-cost country" advantage offered locally. The domestic market was healthy, but the factory was also supplying Middle East and Russia and therefore it suffered from the crisis.
Concerning our factory in Malaysia, may I remind you that it is mainly positioned on the spray-caps manufacturing for the insecticide market.
Premium Beauty News - What is your outlook on the coming months?
Claudio Contini - Very difficult to say. We still need to be very cautious. The de-stocking phase is temporarily over and we are now obviously benefiting from a really strong recovery, but it’s hard to say what will happen next.
Premium Beauty News - During these last months your investments were mainly focused on the pharmaceutical sector!
Claudio Contini - That’s right! The pharmaceutical production structures in Italy are focusing much of our efforts with, in particular, the putting into service, last October, of a state-of-the-art clean room. Of course we are still remaining very active in the beauty sector, mainly in the mass market.
Premium Beauty News - Spray-Cap manufacturing has really become one of your key specialties!
Claudio Contini - A recognized specialty: Coster is maintaining its global leadership in this area! Among our latest developments we are quite proud of the new special actuators for Garnier and Gillette deodorants.