To Irène Gosset, President of the Board of Directors, and Tristan Farabet, Managing Director of the Group, the company’s future remains firmly rooted in the high-end perfume and beauty products market. With about 5,500 employees all around the world, 18 sites across four continents, and a 500 million euro turnover in 2014, Pochet has got it all. The group’s origins date back to the creation of the Du Courval glass factory in 1623, almost 400 years ago. It is now renowned for its wide range of expertise: glass, of course, but also metal and plastics (Qualipac), and decoration-finishing (Solev).
Pochet’s managers have undertaken to give a new impetus to the group to meet brands’ growing productivity and innovation requirements. “We must rely on unique services, technologies, and innovations”, emphasizes Tristan Farabet, who joined the group a year ago, after having managed the French Coca-Cola subsidiary, among others.
Investments of over 40 million
First step: excellence of the industrial facilities. The Pochet Group initiated an ambitious investment programme whose volume doubled between 2013 and 2014 to reach more than 40 million euros – 9% of the group’s turnover – and which will remain at the same level in 2015.
The glass division received almost half these investments, in particular via the rebuilding of one of the four furnaces of the plant located in Blangy-sur-Bresle, Normandy, France, for a total amounting to about 15 million euros. Since the beginning of 2015, this furnace has been producing high quality glass in improved environmental conditions, most notably with a strong decline in energy consumption. In addition, the group has modernized and automated several lines for its French subsidiaries specialized in finishing, for example by installing video control systems intended to monitor quality. And new decoration lines have also been put in in Brazil.
As for Qualipac, priority was given to China, with the plant in Shanghai being moved to completely new premises. The surface area is now twice as large as the previous site. The construction of this new plant also represented an opportunity for a large-scale renewal of the equipment (almost 60% of the presses are new), with a view to supply not only Western customers, but also local ones, mainly in compact cases and jars for makeup and skincare. On top of that, the group has started to extend the capacities of its IPEL subsidiary in Brazil. As the historic leader of the makeup segment in this country, IPEL received technology transfers, in particular in Surlyn transformation, and 30% of its activity is now dedicated to perfume capping.
Lastly, new lacquering and metallization lines were installed on Solev’s premises in France in 2013, and a series of investments on automation were made in 2014, by developing the company’s laser engraving equipment.
All these investments were intended to strengthen the expertise of a group that boasts a strategy of excellence and of controlled know-how and technologies that its competitors do not have.
As for glass, Pochet du Courval had already shown its mastery of glass distribution when La Vie Est Belle (Lancôme) and Jour d’Hermès were launched. With Eole, the glassmaker goes even farther in terms of performance thanks to a patented process that enables to literally draw the distribution at the bottom of the bottle. As for the in’pressive! technology used for the bottle of La Panthère (Cartier), it actually makes it possible to carve the glass within the bottle!
In terms of decoration, Solev recently showcased several original creations resulting from the combination of different techniques (liquid metallization, screen painting, sublimation, laser).
“Most of our innovations are made possible thanks to the complementarity and synergy of the expertise of the group’s three divisions”, Irène Gosset underlines. As an example, the bottle of La Panthère by Cartier and the launching of Louboutin nail varnish result from a close collaboration between Pochet du Courval and Qualipac.
Clearly, the group’s priority is to reinforce and strengthen its production capacity and know-how. But still, an external growth operation is not excluded. “We will do it when and where we think it makes sense,” specifies Tristan Farabet. The Pochet Group is not much into debt, which means it has significant financial means, and it has identified several growth areas like perfumery in Brazil, skincare in China or, on a more global scale, makeup.
“The continuity and commitment of our family shareholders is a considerable strength. We have a vision in the medium and long terms and the ability to go beyond the contingencies related to the current situation and invest for the future. This constitutes a real strength, and it is actually viewed as such by our customers,” concludes Tristan Farabet.