A new eight-color printing press, cutting-edge laminating machines, and additional production lines for rigid coffrets: this year in Latvia, Hungry, and Russia, a third of €19m investment made by the Van Genechten Packaging group (VGP) was earmarked to boost its performance in the luxury sector. The Belgian group—one of the leading independent producers of cardboard in Europe— is moving forward with its premiumization strategy, according to group general manager Frédéric de Somer. “Our presence in the high-end market accelerated between 2010 and 2015 with the acquisition of the Kvadra Pak factory in Riga, Ostprint near Moscow, and Stora Enso’s installations in Komarom, but the groundwork was laid in 1995 when the company acquired Dupuy’s site near Angoulême in France.” At the time, the Cartotec facility made 50% of its turnover in the champagne sector: “Since integrating VGP, its share in the premium market has reached 100%, with a specialization in wine and spirits, including champagne, cognac and whisky.”
Although Angoulême remains its number-one site one for the luxury sector, it is no longer the only one dedicated to value-added products: in Riga, mounted coffrets are decorated with a myriad of techniques (UV printing, embossing, hot foil stamping to name a few) for the fine foods sector (especially chocolatiers) and cosmetics. In Komarom, XXL format (162cm) micro-fluting techniques combined with new production lines for rigid coffrets will no doubt interest luxury accessory brands.
“Of our total turnover of €265m, premium’s share has risen to €40m,” explains de Somer, “and this makes sense: VGP has always placed great emphasis on innovation by investing in development. Combined with our production performance (200,000 tons of cardboard annually) and our expertise in the simplest to the most technical of materials, our capacity for innovation made the luxury sector a natural next step.”
VGP’s latest innovations for Courvoisier, Neisson, and Tsarine have put sustainable development in the spotlight via biodegradable, cellulose-based lamination, novel sealing systems to ensure tamper-proof packaging (without the need for PET windows) as well as reusable cases. “Luxury brands are receptive to the environmental discourse. Plastic is increasingly being avoided, so our three innovation centers in France, Germany, and Belgium are working together to offer the best alternatives possible, be it in technical, aesthetic and ecological terms.