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Synergies & growth for La Rochère and Waltersperger

Alissa Demorest

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Synergies & growth for La Rochère and Waltersperger

On the heels of its acquisition of French glassmaker La Rochère 1475, Tourres & Cie is creating synergies with fellow glassmaker Waltersperger.

Early March 2021, holding company Tourres & Cie announced the purchase of La Rochère, adding a second French glassmaker to its portfolio following the acquisition of Waltersperger three years earlier. The move made sense given the two complementary businesses: one of France’s last semi-automatic glassmaker, Waltersperger’s expertise is in blown glass for the luxury sector, while La Rochère has expertise in pressed glass for tableware and architecture.

For Tourres & Cie CEO Stéphanie Tourres, the collaboration is already bearing fruit for both parties. Indeed, despite the health crisis, La Rochère’s business has been buoyant over the last six months. “We’ve seen a lot of dynamism, which is due both to the change in shareholder, but also to La Rochère’s target markets that are performing well, especially tableware. Exports also are positive, namely in the US and in Asia,” notes Tourres. Some 60% of the glassmaker’s turnover is in tableware – with a significant international business - and the remainder in architectural glass, a more French and European activity.

In terms of its product offer, Tourres & Cie is proposing La Rochère’s expertise to luxury brands, namely for perfume, cosmetics and spirits items that call for pressed glass. “Stoppers, jars, home decoration and lifestyle products… there is a lot of potential, especially given that beauty brands continue to expand their product offer with more lifestyle objects. Pressed glass is a very specific area of expertise. We offer it at Waltersperger, but in much smaller runs, and without the same level of expertise,” explains Tourres. Waltersperger, meanwhile, is tapping into the tableware market as exemplified by the water carafes it recently crafted for renowned Parisian restaurant La Tour d’Argent.

La Rochère is nearly four times the size of Waltersperger, with annual turnover of €10m and a staff of 100. At the time of the acquisition, Gilles Ambs, longtime General Manager of La Rochère was appointed CEO of the glassworks.

In terms of investments, work is currently underway on a new production site for Waltersperger, with the groundbreaking next month. This will replace the existing glassworks with production slated to begin in the second semester of 2022. “We’ll have 2,500m2 of production space and a new industrial organization that will allow us to cater better to our clients’ demands.” The functional equipment will move to the new site, including four semi-automatic furnaces, while the fusion capacity will be revamped. “Our glass composition is done in a rather artisanal fashion today, but with this new factory we’ll have storage silos, automatic weighing machines, more precise traceability techniques and furnace loading processes that will make the tasks much less laborious for our teams.”

As to future acquisitions, Tourres says that there is still ample room for growth with its two Living Heritage certified glassmakers. “Our focus is to further develop our niche for small and medium runs of blown and pressed glass items. And we’ll have our joint expertise, with both Waltersperger and La Rochère sharing a booth at Luxe Pack Monaco in the Ravel hall for the first time this year.”

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