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HCP invests in ex-Rusi plant, makes strides in sustainability

Katie Nichol
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HCP invests in ex-Rusi plant, makes strides in sustainability

Following the acquisition of mascara specialist Rusi in 2017, HCP is aiming to make the Germany-based operation its “packaging platform”. The cosmetics packaging supplier is also innovating on the sustainability front with EcoWood, a bio-based material billed as a “game changer for the beauty industry”, trialing the use of ocean plastic in packaging, and readying for the launch of a 100% aluminum lipstick.

“The aim is for HCP Germany to become the packaging platform for the HCP Group,” Eric Firmin, President HCP France and HCP Germany Head of Sales, said at a press conference last month.

Rusi, acquired in 2017, was renamed HCP Germany in May this year. HCP is driving Rusi’s core competencies in eye and lip packaging, with a particular focus on strengthening the lipstick offer. The supplier is also looking to expand into make-up compacts, as well as closures and jars in skincare.

This April, HCP inked a joint venture with dispensing technology specialist Pum-tech Korea, enabling it to boost its share of the skincare packaging market. In the future, engine components could be sent to Europe and fashion parts produced out of HCP Germany, the company said, enabling it to improve in speed and competitiveness.

Investments at HCP Germany have included eight new injection-molding machines, a new 260m2 decoration department and 900m2 molding facility. “We are integrating injection molding machines into fully automated assembly lines to be able to support bigger companies and handle bigger capacities,” explains the company.

With sales of €20m in 2019 (a drop to €15.4m as a result of the health crisis is forecast for this year), HCP Germany is targeting sales of €45m by 2025.

EcoWood: when green is the new black

HCP is also innovating on the sustainability front; earlier this year it unveiled EcoWood, a bio-based raw material that it says is “a game changer for the beauty industry”. A by-product of the paper industry and exclusive to HCP, EcoWood is suitable for use in conventional injection tooling and can be injected, extruded or blow molded. It is also versatile as it comes in clear or opaque, matte or gloss, rigid or flexible versions. Grades that are biodegradable or recyclable in PE and PP streams are available. The material also has different grades of flexibility; soft and hard. 

Hush, one of HCP’s spring/summer 2021 trend collections that includes paper palettes, packs incorporating PCR materials and refill options, features EcoWood in the form of a black, plastic-free mascara brush (the bottle is 100% RPET and the cap in 100% R-ABS). HCP is working with French company SIMP, the brush and wiper specialist it acquired in 2016, to develop a more elastomeric grade of EcoWood for mascara brushes in a bid to improve memory and flexibility. 

HCP is also readying for the launch of Harmony, its mono-material aluminum lipstick designed to facilitate recycling. Despite being lightweight, the pack is said to offer strong mechanical resistance.

As for plastics, HCP is currently trialing the use of Ocean Waste PET for injection blow molding and Ocean Waste PP for injection molding. The materials are collected from Asia Pacific and transformed in Europe.

All that glitters 

Beyond sustainability, HCP highlights that it is still seeing significant demand for luxurious, metallic, highly decorated packaging, especially in Asia. With its stock portfolio constituting the backbone of its business model and accounting for 90% of volume sales, the supplier has developed several new decoration techniques and finishes that it spotlights in its trends collections. 

The Rose Luxe collection, for example, with its “highly decorative floral aesthetic” features a 3D diamond effect, a double metallization on a mascara cap and a compact with an opalescent finish. With the Hypnotize collection, which focuses on color-shift finishes, HCP unveiled a prismatic coating resulting from its magnetic print technique.

HCP Group’s turnover stood at €373m in 2019. Firmin says that this year, turnover is expected to decline around 25% as a result of the pandemic, with the lips category particularly hard hit.

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