French group Inessens, a creator of premium labels for the wine and spirits markets, has been progressively growing its portfolio. Last year the group snapped up four French suppliers allowing it to expand into new product territories including cosmetics and fragrance. Further growth is on the cards.
“Our acquisition strategy is not about building our turnover at all costs, it’s about mutualizing our expertise and developing complementary service and know-how in order to help our customers’ products stand out,” explains Inessens CEO Eric Groshens. The group’s first entity, ASET, founded in 1996, specialized in the printing of traditional adhesive labels for the wine, spirits and food industries. Over the years Inessens acquired eight other players across France (Cognac, Burgundy, Bordeaux…) each with a specific savoir-faire when it came to labels.
Last year the company branched out of its catchment area with the acquisition of Les Étiquettes Michel Haas, a family owned company near Paris specialized in printing labels for cosmetics, giving the group its first foothold in the beauty arena. Some 40% of the supplier’s business is in the premium market, and it is known for its expertise in small formats.
With Grassse-based Art & Sens, also purchased last year, Inessens brought on board a supplier of olfactory communication tools and folding boxes—the latter a segment it aims to develop. “Cosmetics was a natural next step for the group,” notes Groshens. “Brands tend to close themselves off in their own market segment, rather than exploring what is done elsewhere. Our approach is to take the best of what we do for both wine & spirits and cosmetics & fragrance to offer creations that are truly differentiating. If you look at labels in the wine and spirits segment, for example, there is a lot of creativity in texture and volume, whereas cosmetics labels are a bit more ‘slick’. We believe we can bring some differentiation there,” he adds.
Groshens affirms that CSR initiatives are also at the heart of his development strategy; the group is aiming for ISO 26000 certification before the end of the year and it has launched an internal program defining seven environmental priorities, which include energy consumption and waste treatment—Inessens operates a program to collect and recycle its clients' label backings, rather than sending them to landfill.
In terms of future developments and potential acquisitions, Groshens wants to gain a foothold in the Champagne and Loire Valley labels markets. Expanding production of coffrets and folding boxes is also on the cards. And when it comes to international expansion, the Middle Eastern market is a first priority.
The group reported turnover of €55m in 2019, with a goal of reaching €100m within five years. “We’ll have reached our goal when our labels can speak to the five senses!” concludes Groshens.