Pierre Fabre: “Made in France” takes on the world
24 July 2019
Since its creation in Castres in 1962, the Pierre Fabre group has always remained true to its roots in the South West of France. The majority of the pharmaceuticals and dermo-cosmetics group’s research and production sites are located along a virtual line that runs from the department of Hérault to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques via Toulouse and surrounding areas. A regional foothold that the group combines with strong international development.
When many think of the Pierre Fabre group, the warmth of the South West of France, and more precisely the department of Tarn, is what springs to mind. It must be said that since the creation of the company in 1962, this deep-rooted connection has never been broken. Half of the 50 or so French sites occupied by the international health and dermo-cosmetics player are located in this department of France. A foothold with a big impact on local economic life. With nearly 3,000 employees in the department, the group is by far the largest employer in the Tarn, and one of the top three private employers in the region of Occitanie. Over the past five years, the company has invested nearly €400 million in the greater South West region. Major achievements in recent years include the extension of ultramodern dermo-cosmetics plants in Soual (Tarn) and Avène (Hérault), the opening at the Toulouse Oncopole campus of a research center dedicated to oncology, dermatology and the development of new dermo-cosmetology active ingredients, and the new headquarters of the Consumer Health Care division located at the Castres site.
Staying true to the beliefs of its founder, the Pierre Fabre group aspires to share its development with that of the region in which it is based. The group supports several projects to make Toulouse and its region an internationally renowned cancer-research location. “Since the beginning, we have been part of the Toulouse Oncopole’s visionary adventure, built on the very site of the 2001 AZF disaster, and which has become the leading campus dedicated to the fight against cancer in Europe,” asserts Eric Ducournau, Group CEO.
Pierre Fabre was the first to open its doors there in 2011. The move reflects the company’s drive to be an internationally recognized player in oncology while focusing all of its R&D efforts in France. At the same time, the group puts an emphasis on training by welcoming 150 young people each year on apprenticeship contracts and partnerships with several regional university centers: Toulouse Business School, École des Mines d’Albi, ISIS School of Engineering in Castres and its Connected Health Lab dedicated to eHealth. Last but not least, investment in culture and sports by supporting several museums (Goya in Castres, Dom Robert in Sorèze, Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi, les Abattoirs in Toulouse) and many athletic associations.
Strong international footprint
In an era of relocation and offshoring, production figures remain the numbers that do the talking. “More than 90% of the products we market worldwide are manufactured by our eight plants located in France: in the Tarn of course, but also in Pau, Avène, Cahors, in the Gers and in the Loiret,” confirms Eric Ducournau. “This ‘Made in France’ that we hold so dear is as much a mark of quality for our customers around the world as a voiced desire to contribute to the economic vitality of our home country.”
That being said, Pierre Fabre is not afraid to take the leap in international investment when it comes to opening new subsidiaries – the pace has been fast in recent years: South Korea, Chile, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Denmark, and the list goes on – or creating a dermo-cosmetics innovation center in Brazil for the South American market. “Our overall growth is driven by international sales, which now represent 64% of our business worldwide,” explains Eric Ducournau. Since 2013, the group’s international business has grown by 5 to 6% a year. Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetics now ranks second in the global dermo-cosmetics market as a result of its strong presence on the Asian continent in particular.