L’Oreal India to set up R&I centre in Mumbai to target 150m consumers

Tags: Companies
L’Oreal India, which markets Garnier shampoo and Maybelline mascara, on Thursday announced that the French firm would set up its first research and development facility for the Indian market in Mumbai to study Indian hair and skin specificities as well as the beauty routines and expectations of Indian consumers.

The move will help the cosmetics and beauty major whose tag line is ‘Because you are worth it’ strengthen its R&D capabilities in emerging markets and compete better with the likes of Hindustan Unilever’s Dove and Lakme brands amongst others. The French major also plans to lean on the country’s knowledge of ayurveda to incorporate elements of this in its product formulation strategy.

The Bangalore-advanced research centre is a 2,000 sq m site in the Whitefield suburb. “The scientific environment of Bangalore is favourable to the exploration of phytochemistry, biotechnologies and bioinformatics to screen active ingredients able to address pigmentation disorders, scalp concerns and hair breakage. A specific focus will be on decoding ayurveda roots thanks to modern biological, chemical and analytical methods,” the company said in a press release.

Thanks to the cutting-edge research facilities located in Mumbai and Bangalore, L’Oréal will accelerate innovations. Pierre-Yves Arzel, MD of L’Oréal India, said, “Our research and innovation (R&I) centre in India, will serve to accelerate the growth of innovative products tailored for the Indian market and will help us reach our target of Rs 7,000 crore in sales and 150 million consumers in India by 2020.”

L’Oréal is one of the fastest-growing beauty companies in the country with a growth rate above 20 per cent and sales, which could reach Rs 1,580 crore in calendar 2012.

L’Oreal plans to invest Rs 970 crore between 2011-2016, for the company’s sixth such facility worldwide. The R&D centre in India includes a product development centre in Mumbai and an advanced research centre in Bangalore and will employ over 100 Indian researchers and scientists from the fields of physical chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biotechnology, chemical engineering, physics and biology by end 2013, said a press release.

Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal, said, “With one of the highest growths of the group in Asia Pacific, India is a key contributor to L’Oréal’s objective of reaching one billion new consumers. The R&I centre in India reflects our confidence in the great potential of the Indian market and our strong commitment to the country. It is in line with L’Oréal’s universalisation strategy of adapting our global brands to each culture’s specific needs.”

The product development centre is a 5,000 square meter facility. “Its mission is to translate needs into innovative products ranging from skin care, hair care, hair colour, colour cosmetics and personal hygiene. Cutting edge instruments are used daily to ensure a rigorous evaluation of the technical, functional and sensorial benefits of the products,” the company said.

Mohamed Kanji, director of research & innovation for L’Oréal India, added, “The R&I Centre in India will help us to invent, in close cooperation with our brands, our factory and the excellence of the Indian innovation ecosystem, "star" products that meet local beauty needs.”


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