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“We want to become the mass market leader for natural cosmetics”, Éric Renard, La Phocéenne de Cosmétique

After another year of strong growth, La Phocéenne de Cosmétique (Le Petit Olivier brand) recently acquired the Lovéa brand to Laboratoires Biocos for nearly 6.9 million euros. The French SME created in 1996 by Eric Renard and Xavier Padovani is stating its ambitions in France and abroad.

Eric Renard and Xavier Padovani, co-founders of La Phocéenne de Cosmétique

Eric Renard and Xavier Padovani, co-founders of La Phocéenne de Cosmétique

Premium Beauty News - In 2016, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Le Petit Olivier, you had announced your intention to double your turnover by 2020, particularly by means of external growth. Here you are!

Éric Renard - The Lovéa brand achieved EUR 11.5 million in sales, i.e., roughly half of the turnover of our brand Le Petit Olivier (EUR 22 million in 2016). This was quite a huge operation for a company our size. Our goal is to reach an overall turnover of EUR 50 million by 2020, thanks in particular to an increase in export sales. We are convinced that some significant synergies exist in this area between Lovéa and Le Petit Olivier. For 2018, we are targeting a turnover of EUR 35 to 38 million, which would make us the first French SME in the cosmetics sector operating in mass markets.

On the other hand, we will remain focused on product development and marketing. The Laboratoires Biocos will continue to produce the Lovéa ranges in their dedicated production facilities, while diversifying their subcontracting activity for other customers.

Premium Beauty News - What are the main synergies between Le Petit Olivier and Lovéa?

Éric Renard - Both brands have a very complementary positioning. Le Petit Olivier is a brand with a traditional natural signature, deeply rooted in the Provençal universe. Lovéa is a young and exotic brand with an organic certification. It is the pioneering brand in supermarkets for organic certified sun care products, which enabled the Company to become the third market leader in this segment in France. The brand boasts exceptional expertise and legitimacy in sun care products, which is a major asset that we intend to fully preserve. But we believe that it also enjoys a strong legitimacy in other categories. We are going to start working on the development of other ranges, particularly shower gels and maybe deodorants, to be launched next year.

The other exciting synergy concerns export sales. Lovéa achieves about 25% of its turnover abroad, vs. 28 to 29% for Le Petit Olivier. Our goal for the Group is to reach 33% in 2020. Le Petit Olivier is present in 64 countries against 38 for Lovéa. We have a very strong presence in some countries, like Russia, where the Lovéa brand is not present. We have also set foot in new markets in South America and Central America (Ecuador, Chile, Colombia) where the Lovéa brand is not active. Conversely, Lovéa has a strong foothold in the Netherlands and the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Lebanon) where the brand Le Petit Olivier is not too present.

In addition, we operate in similar distribution channels. Generally in supermarkets, drugstores and sometimes pharmacies. This will allow us to fully rely on our respective sales and distribution forces.

Premium Beauty News - What are your strategic priorities?

Éric Renard - We want Lovéa to become an exotic natural brand of reference in mass distribution, first by strengthening its presence in the sun care segment and then by consolidating and developing its positions in other categories.

Furthermore, we want to build on the existing synergies between the two brands to develop sales in France, Europe (Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland), in Russia on the Mediterranean rim and more particularly Morocco and Tunisia.

To this end, we are banking on the French know-how in cosmetics and on the recognition of Made in France products across the world. All our products are made in France, even if some raw materials like argan or monoï oil are obviously sourced abroad.

Interview by Vincent Gallon

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