L’Oréal, a French personal care company headquartered in Clichy, seeks to rely more on local suppliers during the coming years to further enhance the company’s exports, L’Oréal’s Country Manager for Egypt, Benoit Julia, said.
“We would like to develop product packaging, in order to be in line with the standard specifications and to have product conformation to local and export standards at affordable prices to consumers,” Julia added, noting that 85% of the factory’s production is export-oriented to mainly the GCC, Lebanon, and Morocco.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Julia to learn more about the updates of the company’s activities in terms of investments, exports, as well as future strategy for the company in Egypt, the transcript below was lightly edited for clarity:
How do you assess Egypt’s investment climate? What are your recommendations to further improve it?
Egypt has a promising and attractive market for investment and has many opportunities for growth. For us, Egypt is a strategic country and we have started our investments in 2009, and by 2011 we took the decision to establish the first L’Oréal factory in the region to be the export hub for Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
What is the size of your investments in the Egyptian market? How do you assess your investment experience here?
L’Oréal is present in 150 countries through 44 specialised factories. In 2011, we established our first factory in Egypt with initial investments of €50m to be the export hub for MENA. The factory is located in the 10th of Ramadan City.
During the inauguration ceremony of the plant, L’Oréal’s Executive Vice-President, Africa-Middle East Zone, Geoff Skingsley, said: “With the rising demand across the region for innovative and high quality beauty products, it was crucial for L’Oréal to have a production facility close to its key markets which is able to adapt its product offers to local specifics.” He added that the Cairo plant reflects the company’s confidence in the continuous expansion of the MENA markets and L’Oréal’s strong commitment to Egypt as a strategic production hub.
What about L’Oréal’s CSR projects in Egypt?
For CSR activities, we have several key areas, including a programme entitled Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. L’Oréal Egypt implements a number of citizenship programmes that entail a commitment toward empowering diversified segments in the society.
Driven from L’Oréal’s profound vision in the vitality of endowing science and research, and with its certainty that Egypt acquires highly qualified calibres in that sector, L’Oréal Egypt in 2018 launched the first edition of L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship, in partnership with the Academy of Science. The programme granted fellowships to three promising youths. However, we have up to date 19 Egyptian scientists who have been recognised and awarded whether on international or regional level since the programme was launch 21 years ago
L’Oréal focuses its attention on the underprivileged in its “Boost Her-Pioneer for the Future” programme. The platform empowers women and aims to provide job opportunities in an attempt to promote gender equality through offering the necessary training and skills development, as well as knowledge sharing.
To further complement the know-how transfer, the company proudly established the first-of-a-kind specialised L’Oréal Professional Institute in Egypt, a technical institute that offers an internationally accredited educational curriculum to support and train talented youths and enable them to master the hairdressing profession.
The institute bestows a commitment for the company to educate and train Egyptian youths on the best standards and techniques in the field, and up to date we have more than 320 graduates from the institute.
How many products do you produce from Egypt?
L’Oréal Egypt offers a wide range of products with each brand category catering for a specific market segment. The Egyptian market includes 100 million consumers; this is in addition to consumers in neighbouring markets, which serve as a driving force for us to provide a variety of L’Oréal Egypt products. We have successfully produced 13 International brands out of 36 brands offered by the L’Oréal Group; some of them are manufactured locally while others are imported.
What is the size of the company’s exports?
As I early mentioned, L’Oréal Egypt factory is the company’s export hub for MENA, and 85% of the factory’s production is export-oriented to mainly the GCC, Lebanon, and Morocco. In order to enhance exports to foreign markets, the company seeks to develop local suppliers so as to rely on them in providing the factory’s needs in the coming years, in particular with regard to product packaging, in order to meet standard specifications and to reach local and export product conformity at affordable prices for the consumer.
How many people work in L’Oréal Egypt?
L’Oréal Group has around 82,000 employees. Meanwhile, L’Oréal Egypt employs approximately 800 employees. We are proud that 99% of the employees are Egyptians and they hold most of the leading positions, and this is in line with our efforts to empower Egyptians in order to become future leaders.
According to L’Oréal Group’s website, the group achieved about €26.9bn in sales in 2018. The group has 36 brands, and 79% of new products in 2018 have an improved environmental or social profile. The group achieved about €3bn of its sales from e-commerce. The group has 21 research centres spread across six regional hubs, three global centres in Europe, while it has 14 evaluation centres.
In a beauty market that continued to grow steadily in 2018, L’Oréal confirmed its position as the worldwide leader in beauty, with a strong presence in its three main geographic zones: Western Europe, North America, and other new markets.
Africa and Middle East region recorded growth, despite the unfavourable geopolitical context and sluggish markets, especially in the Middle East. Egypt and Morocco posted positive growth, and all divisions increased their market share. There were favourable developments in South Africa and Kenya, thanks in particular to the consumer products division and the launch of the Mixa body care range, added the website.