Top Companies Report

23. Pola

August 11, 2011

H2O Plus is owned by Pola.


Sales: $1.1 billion

Key Personnel:

Satoshi Suzuki, president and chief executive officer, Pola Orbis Holdings, Inc. and chairman, Pola Inc.; Hiroki Suzuki, president, Pola Inc.; Yasuo Iwazaki, president, Pola Chemical Industries, Inc.

Major Products:

Skin care, cosmetics, hair care and men’s products, B.A. (Bio Active anti aging) special care.

New Products:

Aglaira skin care, Junbisho body care, H20 Plus (acquisition).


Pola is one of Japan’s leading cosmetics firms, selling products at retail and directly to the consumer. The Pola Orbis Group traces its origins back to a hand cream made by the group’s founder, Shinobu Suzuki, who created it to heal his wife’s dry and rough hands. He began selling the hand cream door-to-door, visiting individual customers by bicycle and supplying them with no more than the amount of cream they needed.

Pola’s sales were flat at $1.1 billion. Two of the group’s core companies, Pola Inc. and Orbis Inc, showed growth, according to the company’s annual report.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange gave the green light to Pola Orbis Holdings Inc.’s plan to list on the exchange on Dec. 10. According to published reports, the Japanese cosmetics company offered 4 million shares in its initial public offering.

The natural disasters in Japan had little effect on Pola. According to a company press statement, “There has been no impact (by earthquake, tsunami or nuclear power plant) on Shizuoka Prefecture, where Pola factories are located. All of our products are safe, without any scientifically proven harmful-level radioactive contaminations. Since the event, Pola Japan has been conducting thorough product inspection and the U.S. Custom’s inspection has been as strict as ever. Furthermore, Pola USA has started checking radiation level before we ship our merchandises to your local distributors.” All of Pola Japan’s fundamental operations, including but not limited to Pola Japan headquarters, international division, factories and R&D center operated normally, the company said.

Pola-Orbis Holdings, Inc. donated $3.75 million worth of products through various charity organizations including the Japanese Red Cross. In addition, Pola Group decided to donate percentage portion of its March and April revenue to the disaster affected areas and people, mainly in Northeast Japan.

Two months ago, Pola Orbis Holdings Inc. acquired H2O Plus, the privately held marketer of marine-based natural skin care products with headquarters in Chicago, IL. H2O Plus had been majority-owned by investment companies Cordova, Smart & Williams, LLC and New MainStream Capital, LLC, as well as Robert Seidl and other members of senior management. Financial details of the transaction were not released.

The move comes as Pola Orbis aims to accelerate its growth in global markets and achieve sales of $3 billion with an overseas sales percentage of 20% by 2020. H2O Plus has more than 2,000 prestige retail points of distribution in 22 countries, including deep penetration in North America, Asia and an expanding presence in Europe and Latin America.

H2O Plus will strengthen Pola Orbis’ global business base, and Pola Orbis expects synergies through the integration of Pola Orbis' strengths in research & development and marketing while capitalizing on H2O Plus’ appealing brand concept and retail distribution channels via local distributors, according to Pola.

“H2O Plus has a sharp brand identity and adds a distinct uniqueness to the Pola Orbis portfolio of seven brands. Pola Orbis targets to increase its presence in global markets in the mid-term management plan, and we believe a partnership with H2O Plus will be mutually beneficial,” said Satoshi Suzuki, president and CEO of Pola Orbis. “Pola Orbis will build a shared relationship with H2O Plus through communication, and we are confident in H2O Plus’ further growth through an integration of Pola Orbis’ expertise in R&D, marketing, and management.”

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