Dario Ferrari, Intercos

Dario Ferrari, Intercos

Does it mean the Intercos “model” has changed? The driving forces which still constitute and will continue to constitute what many do not hesitate to call the “Intercos exception” are well and truly there! “Creativity pushed to its limits, continuous innovation, unbridled research, marketing and anticipation of market trends,” a unique winning combination that no company in the sector has so far, admittedly, managed to come to par with. Not to forget one of the Italian Group’s major asset, an industrial production capacity available in every corner of the world.

Supporting or even anticipating our customers’ needs,” insists Ferrari, “the experience shows that we were right to settle in the United States, where we now have three factories, and in Asia, where we have four factories. We will be opening a plant this year in Brazil near Sao Paulo and we are about to sign a joint venture in Japan for our colour activity”.

Business resumed with renewed vigour!

After the downturn imposed by the 2008 crisis, business at Intercos resumed with renewed vigour. The group’s strategic plan for the coming months is running like clockwork. While maintaining and developing the core values that have made its success, Intercos intends to successfully complete its restructuring, that is to say by building on its ability to focus on creation, but also by making it more accessible to a larger number of companies. Continue to innovate but by always keeping in mind reactivity and competitiveness. “Time to market..., time to market!” insists Ferrari.

But innovation means “research”! And in this domain, the Italian group has never lowered its guard, quite the contrary. 460 people out of a total staff of 3,200 work on innovation. That is, nearly 15% of the Intercos staff. An estimated cost of 145 million euros in 5 years! Who can top that! As a result, more than 10,000 new formulas emerge each year from the six research laboratories of the company located for four of them, in Europe, one in Asia and the last one in the United States.

And each of these research centres has a dedicated mission,” says Ferrari. “Hence, the one in Maastricht in the Netherlands looks like a real start-up that takes full advantage of the fantastic research environment in this region. It is mainly specialized in the development of innovative raw materials for colour and skin-care. In China, the laboratory is in charge of finding new competitive raw materials etc.

Research, creativity, marketing, a comprehensive range that takes full advantage of the industrial clout that the group has built around the globe in ten year’s time. Results are quite impressive here too: twelve factories, a production capacity of more than 1.5 billion pieces per year! A turnover divided between the USA (52%), Europe (39%) and Asia (9%)!

"And we have more in reserve," explain officials at the Group’s headquarters in Agrate Brianza, near Milan. “Opportunities for growth are strong across the Atlantic and huge in Asia, emphasises Ferrari, and we progress by 30% every year!

To note that one of the two U.S. plants has seen its surface increase this year by 10,000 sqm. Not to mention Brazil, where a 10,000 sqm factory will be commissioned in the coming days, without forgetting Japan. “As for Italy, he says, we have one of the most remarkable factory in the world in Dovera with its 40,000 sqm of surface production to which we are about to add an additional 15,000 sqm.” The Agrate site will focus in the end on emulsions to gradually become a technological centre dedicated to powders and lipsticks.

Growing full service activities!

Options are also clear for our markets, says Ferrari. Colour remains the bulk of our business (55%) followed by pencils (22%), skincare (12%) and the rest. It is on the prestige market that we achieve the largest part of our business (34%) followed by mass market (25%), direct sales and private labelling sharing the rest. We have invested heavily in our industrial and our research capacity in skin care and pencils (a current capacity of 100 million pieces per year!) to manage to become key players in these two segments. As for the full service activity, there is no denying that it is continuing to grow.

I will have the good fortune of turning seventy this year, says ironically Ferrari, but at the same time it is sort of a handicap of being already seventy!” A septuagenarian who has clearly not lost his appetite to undertake.