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Aptar's Xavier Susterac: "We're adapting to the new context, while investing for the future"

Christel Trinquier
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Aptar's Xavier Susterac:

For Xavier Susterac, President EMEA at Aptar Beauty + Home, the 2021 edition of LUXE PACK Monaco will be more important than ever when it comes to showcasing innovations. The supplier will present its Silk and Future pumps at the show. Susterac shares his expectations for the show and his vision of today’s changing market with Luxe Packaging Insight.

The health crisis has had an impact on the entire Beauty business; how has Aptar had to adapt?

Certain segments and markets have suffered a lot, namely lipstick and fragrance and some parts of our business were severely impacted. On the other hand, other markets have emerged: demand for pumps for hand sanitizers, for example, has taken off, showing double- and even triple-digit growth. While we’ve adapted to the new context, we haven’t stopped investing for the future. From this point of view, the health crisis has reinforced the relevance of our strategic choices: at a time when many players are considering relocating, we haven’t had to do so. Aptar is the largest company in France’s Eure region and the second largest private employer in the Oyonnax cluster. The group has 13,000 employees, of which around half are in Europe, including 4,200 in France. In the EMEA region we operate 22 production sites, of which eight are in France. In Oyonnax, we’ve decided to bring together our five current sites to a single one with the aim of being even more efficient from an environmental point of view. The site should be operational by 2023 with a particular focus on personalized solutions.

You have also taken advantage of the rather quiet period in 2020 to fine-tune some innovations. What can you tell us in this area?

Indeed, we focused on research and development and a number of innovations in the pipeline were able to come to fruition, and many of these are now coming out. I am thinking in particular of Future: our fully recyclable mono-material pump, which is particularly emblematic of Aptar's strong sustainable R&D policy. We’ve signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which entails that our packaging be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Free of any metal components that could disrupt its ability to be recycled, Future required more than two years of engineering and testing, but the results are in: it is now certified Cyclos-htp and obtained an A rating by RecyClass. It will be available in PE as well as in Post Consumer resin, and can be customized when it comes to capacity as well as ring diameter: brands already can choose from among several ring colors. Thanks to an innovative locking system, Future also meets ISTA 6 standards, guaranteeing optimal resistance to transport and making it an ideal solution for e-commerce.

We’ll also take advantage of the LUXE PACK Monaco show to present, or rather re-present, some launches that due to the pandemic didn’t garner enough visibility such as our Silk pump, which offers a true sensory experience.

How will LUXE PACK Monaco be an integral part of your recovery strategy this year?

Due to the supply chain issues, including delivery and supply times, raw material and inflation, coming out of the crisis may be relatively complex, but it is essential that we relaunch the business. Hence the need to work as far upstream as possible with our customers, both in terms of sourcing and product approvals; meeting with brands will be more essential this year than ever. Personally, I'm looking forward to LUXE PACK Monaco as Aptar has always been an exhibitor, but it’ll be a first for me. Having received feedback from my staff, I already know that it is a key moment for the group.

This year we’ll not only come with technical innovations, but also with new proposals following our acquisition of Fusion PKG last year. The company is a leader in the US in airless packaging and premium color cosmetics, but also in turnkey solutions, which is a shift in our business model as we now are able to offer brands — be they large players or Indies — turnkey Fast Beauty products from design to launch, including formulation. We intend to import this approach to our business in Europe. There’s a lot to look forward to!

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