By  on November 7, 2008

CANNES, France — Selective Beauty, an eight-year old distribution and manufacturing firm, is undergoing its first major makeover.

Last week, the French beauty firm’s chairman and co-founder Corrado Brondi told WWD the first part of the company’s rejuvenation plan is finished, after Milan-based investment group Investindustrial acquired 77 percent of Selective Beauty in July.

“They have injected a considerable amount of money into the company to stimulate important growth,” said Brondi on the sidelines of the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) duty free show. “This is a firm with a billion euros in funds invested,” he added, without disclosing details on the investment. Investindustrial also owns Morris Profumi SpA and Atkinsons.

Following the equity infusion, Investindustrial and Brondi — who controls the remaining 23 percent stake of Selective Beauty — have turned their attention to revising the firm’s brand portfolio. It appears that the accent has shifted away from the more costly licensing and brand development activities, in favor of lucrative distribution deals.

To that end 13 fragrance licenses were trimmed from Selective Beauty’s lineup, leaving what Brondi described as the firm’s “pillar brands,” which include Agent Provocateur, John Galliano, Max Mara, Trussardi, Benetton, Iceberg and Breeze.

“These seven core brands represented 85 percent of overall sales so it’s important that we focus on them,” said Brondi. He named Montana and Balmain as among the licenses Selective Beauty has let go of. “We are still closing up contracts on the other brands,” he said, adding that development plans are still going ahead with a couple of the licenses. However, he declined to name them.

On the other hand, Selective Beauty also intends to retain three major distribution-only partnerships with other beauty firms. One of the deals includes a contract signed with P&G Prestige Products last month, in which Selective Beauty will distribute the Baldessarini, Laura Biagiotti and Ghost fragrances worldwide.

The other distribution agreements Selective Beauty maintains are with Inter Parfums for Burberry, Lanvin and Van Cleef & Arpels fragrance brands; and with Coty for Chopard, Vivienne Westwood and Nikos.

“The focus is on getting the company back on track, and concentrating on what we have now,” he said.

While Brondi remains chairman, he is also closing in on a new candidate to be Selective Beauty’s ceo, replacing the departed Christophe Cervasel — Selective Beauty’s other co-founder. The new appointment is expected to be announced in January.

Although Brondi declined to break out numbers, industry sources report that Selective Beauty broke even last year with a turnover of 175 million euros, or $239.87 million at average exchange rates.

Sources added that the company had been in the black for 2005 and 2006 but profitability diminished in 2007 with an uptick in brand building activity as the firm prepared to launch its first Galliano scent this fall.

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