CEOtalk: Enrico Ceccato about economically uncertain times and the future of the fragrance industry spoke to Enrico Ceccato, CEO Perfume Holding and partner of the investment fund Orlando Italy, at Duty Free-Fair TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes. The interview was done by Elmar Keldenich.

Enrico Ceccato, CEO Perfume Holding
"...the semi-selective topic is THE topic, it is the future of the fragrance industry…" Enrico Ceccato, CEO Perfume Holding

EPCnews: Mr. Ceccato, thank you for your time. What do you think about perfumes and what is your favorite one?

E.C: I don’t have any favorite perfumes or brands. Every brand has its own identity, and they are all very interesting when you work on developing them both in the creation side and the distribution side.


EPCnews: What is the reason for a partner of an Italian investment funds to invest into perfumery industry, especially in economically uncertain times?

E.C: It is very interesting for an investment fund to invest in an industry that is very much in a transformation phase. Today, all indicators are showing the future belongs to:

1/ brands that have strong, global brand equity, offering high qualitative perceived value products at affordable prices

2/ exclusive scents in response to oversaturation and demand for niche, tailored individual fragrances

3/ Key developing markets such as Brazil, China, Mexico, India…

Our brands’ portfolio responds very well to all criteria. Our global brands Ferrari and Benetton are key pillars to grow our business, especially in the growing developing countries where young consumers show great interests in these kind of brands.

Especially in bad economic situation, Women and Men always want to feel attractive, to seduce each other, to buy dreams. We strongly believe that our brands offer all.


EPCnews: With the Perfume Holding you’re the boss of a new player at perfumery industry. The previous companies Morris Profumi and Selective Beauty are well known names in the branch. After the insolvency of Selective Beauty it was quiet in several European countries. How did you come up with the idea to fund the company?

E.C: I knew that combining Selective Beauty know-how, and Morris Profumi Know-how with brands that are complementary to each other would be a winning recipe. We have 2 strong global brands Ferrari (Morris) and Benetton (Selective Beauty), and other brands that have great potential in various markets.

On one side, we are capitalizing on the strong Creation/Marketing expertise of our Paris based office that is one of the most talented in the industry. On the other side, we are capitalizing on the strong Italian know how in terms of production and supply chain.


EPCnews: The group has offices in Paris, Milan and Parma. The marketing and creative division is based in France, while all sales, finance  and backoffice departments are in Italy. Since April 2011 the group is also active in Germany. What expectations do you have due to the entry in the German market?

E.C: We strongly believe that our brands’ portfolio has a good potential in the German market given its strong business in the semi selective and selective channels. We signed an agreement with ITF, a well known player in the German market, to use its know-how in being closer to the field. We have a marketing and sales team fully dedicated to our brands, and to further develop our portfolio in both the independents and key accounts.


EPCnews: In addition to Germany, you have sales offices in the U.S., Great Britain, Italy, France and Singapore. Do you plan offices in other countries?

E.C: We always look at what is the best for our brands and their development in any given region. We set up a Joint Venture with Luxasia to cover the whole Asia Pacific region. In Middle East, we set up a master distribution with Al Fahim Group, the results are already paying off. We adapt our approach each time it is necessary…


EPCnews: But still about 40 percent of your turnover is achieved in Italy, also the focus of the brand portfolios is clearly Italy. How does that fit in your internationalization strategy?

E.C: The potential of our brands’ portfolio is huge, we are gaining market share in every single market. Ferrari is being recently ranked number 1 in Brazil, and the brand is ranking in the Top 5 or Top 10 in some key export markets. It is the same for Benetton where our brand is also gaining market share from Latin America to Indonesia and Philippines (where the brand is ranked in the top 3). Our Creation/Marketing team in Paris is developing new projects to fit the needs of key markets, organizing sniff tests and focus groups in various markets, always for the good of a project. We developed projects for the Middle East, for Latin America and for Asia. So, we are definitely a worldwide company.


EPCnews: Your company has an impressive brand portfolio, for exemple John Galliano, La Perla, Benetton, Ferrari, Sergio Tacchini, Iceberg, Ducati and Fiorucci but also brands like I Coloniali, Atkinson or Bois 1920. From luxury to niche, everything is possible. How do you get everything together?

E.C: Our approach is to take care of our semi selective brands in the same way as we take care of our selective brands. We follow the same approach for Ferrari as for Galliano. Our Creation/Marketing department is coordinating best agencies to help us find the most creative concepts to deliver winning projects to our final consumers. Our credo is ‘to give the most qualitative product at the most affordable price’


EPCnews: The semi-selective topic seems to play a special role?

E.C: As explained earlier, the semi-selective topic is THE topic, it is the future of the fragrance industry…


EPCnews: What plans do you have for the luxury, nature and niche division?

E.C: We have extensive programs on all our brands. I highly recommend you to keep an eye on the markets in Spring 2012 regarding Ferrari and Benetton. We also have great project to nourish our fantastic niche brand BOIS 1920.

As far as our Nature division is concerned, I Coloniali represents a fundamental asset for Perfume Holding because it is a trademark with really high potential growth. It is why we decided to sign a preliminary joint venture agreement with beauty manager Stefano Pesce, founder of personal care brand Aquolina, to accelerate the expansion of I Coloniali.


EPCnews: Can we expect news from your company in the next time?

E.C: The news will come from the projects and from their presence in the markets. We are developing great projects that already proved to have strong legs. I am comfortable that the new launches will generate great buzz and that PH will continue to gain market share worldwide…


EPCnews: At the moment Italy is “shaken” by the economic and euro crisis. How are your turnover expectations for the current year?

E.C: We are aiming at 130M euro turnover…


EPCnews: Please complete this sentence: If we will meet next year again, the Perfume Holing …

E.C:…is soon to be the state of the art global fragrance licensing company in the semi-selective segment.


EPCnews: Mr. Ceccato, thank you for the interview.

[Photo: Perfume Holding]