By Tissue World magazine editor Helen Morris
Arjowiggins Graphic’s chief executive Agnès Roger talks to TWM about the company’s market strategy
Arjowiggins Graphic’s tissue mill is located in Saint-Marsla-Brière in north-west France. Founded in 1848, it manufactures 100,000tpy of specialist tissue to sell to converters and its tissue is mainly used for tabletop products, printing and hygiene.
TWM/1: What main tissue sectors are you in within France and what trends are you seeing here?
“We only work in the mother reel market, especially in the deep tone coloured reels for table top and white for heavy printed napkins. Our customers are mainly specialised non-integrated converters. But we are not focused solely on the French market and are now exporting more than 70% of our tissue out of France. The French market is still growing but at a moderate pace.”
TWM/2: Are you looking to export more tissue products and if so, to what geographical areas?
“Our most developing markets are outside of France. We are already operating in most geographical areas. However, we usually see that tabletop is the last tissue product to be implemented within a market. We are targeting growing regions with a level of strong enough economic development. One must also deal with the customer usage of the table top product. We also have other opportunity from the hygiene market to industrial application, but which are still with specialist products. It allows us to be strong in Africa and to explore new areas for development.”
TWM/3: What are the main trends you’re seeing from the French tissue and towel consumer? Have recessionary climates impacted any change in trends?
“The French market has been impacted by the financial crisis but not as strongly as other countries. The main trend is quality reduction to avoid price increase at the customer level. In this way all the specifications can be reduced, grammage, size… Despite this fact and what we have faced since 2008, the coloured business is still running well.”
“The French market has been impacted by the financial crisis but not as strongly as other countries. The main trend is quality reduction to avoid price increase at the customer level.”
TWM/4: What key trends are you seeing in the private label market in France?
“To answer we need to make the difference between B2B and B2C. In B2B, retailers are looking more and more towards private label; a fairly new proposition for the market. But it’s just substitution, replacing traditional products by another one. In most cases the producer stays the same. From this point of view the impact of the private label development is weak.
“In B2C, this movement started years ago, and we know that the private label-market share can’t increase anymore. It can also be an opportunity for traditional brands to come back to business with products and trends.”
TWM/5: Are French consumers buying more and more T&T products online?
“For the moment you can’t find many products online except in Supermarkets Drive which is the new big retail trend. But this way to sell is more dedicated to commodity products than to trendy ones.”
TWM/6: What technical areas will your French tissue mill prioritise over the next couple of years?
“We aim to increase our production whilst maintaining our capacity to produce small runs and to deal with the complexity of our portfolio. For the technical point of view our priority is cost reduction. We are focused on the energy compliance aspect of our group Arjowiggins Graphic’s policy.”