Japanese group Nippon Shikizai is currently focusing its investements in France. Following its acquisition in 2000 of Thépenier Pharma & Cosmetics, Orléans Cosmetics, renamed Nippon Shikizai France, joined the formula manufacturer's portfolio in 2017, bringing its expertise in makeup powders (currently a promising niche market) and hot cast products. The two French entities have a turnover of €20m.
More than €8m have been invested over the last four years to modernize Thépenier's site in Saint-Langis-lès-Mortagne, enabling it to return to profitability. At Nippon Shikizai France (in Saint-Cyr-en-Val), new filling lines are planned for hot casting, loose powder and compacting, with the aim of upping its production capacity by 30%.
Nippon Shikizai’s three Japanese plants are also on the receiving end of a $30m investment plan, programmed between 2018 and 2020. The main beneficiary is the Tsukuba site in Ibaraki, which is expected to boost its bulk production capacity following major renovation and expansion works between 2014 and 2017.
In the innovation realm, one of the group's bestsellers is its Warm Water Washable mascara, a formula removeable with lukewarm water but tear resistant. Well-established in Asia, the formula has been adopted by American brands since 2019 and is also available in an eyeliner format. At Thépenier, innovation is geared in response to consumers’ use of new technologies: a facial mist and photo-protective eye contour is said to combat the blue light emitted by digital screens, while the iCream hand lotion offers "immediate absorption," making it it possible to use a touch keyboard without delay. All three products claim a formula featuring at least 97% natural raw materials and the shortest possible list of ingredients. This also applies to the new cleansing gel that transforms into a lotion when in contact with water (featuring charcoal microbeads and prairie pearl oil).
By product sector, makeup accounts for 85% of the group's business (versus 15% for skincare), with the main segments being foundation (31% of sales), lipstick (19%), mascara and eyeliner (15%). Nippon Shikizai employs some 60 people in its R&D department, which is quite uncommon in subcontracting, as well as about 40 engineers who enable the design of machines adapted to the incessant diversification of makeup technologies.
The company's growth—its turnover increased from $63m to $110m between 2014 and 2018—is mainly through its international business, which represents 30%, mainly as a result of increased exports to China and a stronger presence in Europe. Currently served from Japan or France, the US could be the location of a future industrial facility for Nippon Shikizai. Watch this space.