Étienne Gruyez

Étienne Gruyez

Stoelzle Glass Group intends to be ready for the market recovery! At a time when main glassmakers have slowed down their activity, the company has decided to invest nearly 20 million euros to rebuild the furnace at its production site located in Masnières, north of France.

"Even in these difficult times, our priority is to continue to invest in all of our sites. In France, the new extended furnace will allow us to maintain our position as a centre of excellence for the manufacture of high-end bottles and jars for international perfume and cosmetics industries," explains Étienne Gruyez, Chairman and CEO of Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie.

Anticipate recovery

Initially scheduled for the summer of 2020, the renovation was postponed to 2021 due to the crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic. Finally, the decision was made to take advantage of the current low industrial activity to undertake this key modernization. "After contacting our suppliers, it appeared possible to start the furnace renovation in November, for it to be ready for production at the beginning of January 2021," adds Étienne Gruyez.

For the moment, the entire industrial activity is idle. For the year 2020, the luxury and premium perfume market is expected to fall by 20 to 30% compared to the previous year, and a return to the 2019 level is not expected before 2022 or 2023.

"Today we have 4 to 6 weeks visibility on our production schedule, against 6 months before the crisis. The activity has slowed down considerably, all the brands have used up their stocks. As far as we are concerned, we expect a 20% to 25% drop for 2020," confirms the Head of Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie.

For suppliers, it is difficult to predict how the market will react. If the end of the year - from the Black Friday promotions to the end of year holidays - could allow limiting the harm done, the low number of launches encourages us to put 2020 behind us.

"Our customers have delayed many budgets to 2021, especially for Mother’s Day. We are counting on a real rebound in the second quarter of 2021," indicates Étienne Gruyez. "But it is impossible to make more precise predictions, as there is still a lot of uncertainty. What is certain is that there is are significant changes in behaviours Increasing attention to environmental issues and an inexorable rise in digital technology. To attract customers who are staying at home, brands are once again turning to miniatures. The need to adapt to online sales will certainly give rise to important innovations."

More efficient production

With its new furnace and the concomitant installation of a fifth production line, Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie will increase its production capacity from 70 to 125 tonnes per day.

"In practice, this reconstruction is an opportunity to rethink a good part of the site. Beyond the increase in capacity, the whole investment was meant to also improve our energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of our production, from the purchase of latest generation machines to the installation of LED bulbs in workshops, including reducing air loss," emphasizes Étienne Gruyez.

The new gas furnace for instance will be equipped with an electric booster, supplied with "green" electricity, allowing to reduce all emissions by 12%.

Enough to further improve the glassmaker’s proposals, that come with quotes on the environmental assessment of his offer, and proposals for improvement. "These type of proposals are in high demand among brand owners, even if they remain attentive to costs. But actually, it is not enough to only take interest in the manufacture of the glass, it is the impact of the entire bottle, glass and decoration included, that must be considered." To this end, Stoelzle uses benchmark software to measure the environmental impact of all the choices. A practice that is spreading throughout the industry!

Hence, Stoelzle’s bet on the future could not be more rational...