Approximately 250 researchers today, nearly 300 in a near future, 1,200 new product formulas developed each year and a portfolio of 200 patents: LVMH Recherche is spearheading the development of the French luxury giant in the field of perfumes and cosmetics. The inauguration on November 18 of its new premises, located on the site of the Parfums Christian Dior plant, in Saint-Jean-de-Braye, near Orléans, emphasises the importance of perfumes and cosmetics within the group’s global growth strategy.

Photographe : So:l'ange photographe - Architecte : Arte Charpentier...

Photographe : So:l’ange photographe - Architecte : Arte Charpentier Architectes

Over EUR 30 million investment

With 55 hectares, the site of Parfums Christian Dior is one of the largest areas dedicated to perfumes and luxury cosmetics in France. On this site, the new Helios research centre gathers most of the research and development of the brands Parfums Christian Dior, Parfums Givenchy, Guerlain and Fresh, and also develops products for Kenzo, MakeUp For Ever, Aqua di Parma or Benefit Cosmetics. Its 18,000 sqm are distributed in a set of six three level buildings forming a perfectly equilateral triangle.

LVMH has invested over 30 million euros in the construction and development of this new centre, which is fully operational since the end of October. Over 20 key areas of expertise are gathered on the site, including molecular and cell biology, physical chemistry, ethnobotany, sensory analysis, formulation and histology, as well as safety and efficiency control, regulatory compliance, sensory evaluation and market trends monitoring, among others.

An R&D network

Located in the heart of the Cosmetic Valley, a cluster gathering about 300 members - of which 78 % are SMEs - and 7 universities, and covering seven departments across three regions (Centre, Haute Normandie, Ile- de- France) in France, Helios will also be one of the two entities of the Skinovalys project, the other being the University of Orleans that will focus on basic research. Specifically, the centre will allow researchers outside the LVMH group, academics, but also from start-ups and small and micro businesses, to find in a temporary shelter for the completion of their experimental projects and thus benefiting from Helios’ the state-of-the-art equipment (electro-microscopy devices, cell culture materials, genomic targeting tools, etc.) at interesting prices. Applications to join the programme will be centralized by the Cosmetic Valley.

Beyond the regional level, LVMH Recherche also boasts numerous partnerships with universities in France (Bordeaux, Paris VI) or abroad (Modena, Shanghai, Stanford, Zurich), or with independent experts, particularly in the field of ethnobotany .

Photo : - Architecte : Arte Charpentier...

Photo : - Architecte : Arte Charpentier Architectes

Future developments

On the occasion of inauguration ceremony, LVMH managers confirmed its next development steps, in particular its interest in completing its portfolio with another skincare allow the group to better meet the needs of Asian customers. However, according to Reuters, Antonio Belloni, Group Managing Director of LVMH, would consider that Clarins, which is often mentioned as a potential target, is a too big prey. The group would favour a smaller brand offering strong development opportunities.

Nevertheless, the group is giving priority to organic growth, including the development of is Fresh brand in Asia. The American bath and skin care brand joined the LVMH group in 2000. Fresh now has 15 own stores worldwide and its products are available in many prestigious points of sale around the globe, including North America, China, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore.