Sales: $1.9 billion
Key Personnel: Satoshi Suzuki, president and chief executive officer; Hiroki Suzuki, president; Takako Konishi, executive vice president; Shigeo Takatani, vice president; Isao Aoyagi, vice president; Akira Fuji, vice president; Robert F. Seidl, chief global business strategy officer at Pola Orbis Holdings; Richard R. (Rick) Ruffolo, president and chief executive officer, H2O Plus; Sam McKay, president and CEO, Jurlique.
Major Products: Skin care, cosmetics, personal care and fragrance. Companies and brands include Pola, Orbis, Jurlique, H20 Plus, pdc Inc., Future Labo, Medi Labo, Decenia, Acro and Three.
New Products: White Shot Clear serum, Live Rich anti-aging skin care; Aqua Force Extra skin care, Balancing skin care, H2O Plus Total Source Optimum Serum and All Day Cream, B.A The Day Mask S, Three Scalp & Hair; Jurlique—Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum, limited edition Rosewater Balancing Mist, Purely Bright Spot Treatment, Essence of Rose Roll-On Fragrance Oil.
Comments: Sales rose 9% last year, driven by a big gain in international sales as consumers purchased Jurlique in Europe and H2O Plus products in North America. It’s all part of the company’s plan to achieve sales of ¥250 billion by 2020, with 20% of sales from international markets. Japan accounted for more than 90% of Pola’s beauty sales in 2012, while beauty accounted for more than 90% of Pola’s corporate sales last year.
To build its flagship Pola brand, the company is aggressively expanding in department stores as well as its own Pola The Beauty stores, which combine cosmetics, consulting and aesthetic treatments. At the same time, Pola is expanding its direct sales business. To boost sales of Orbis, the company is focused on internet sales and streamlining order procedures to reduce delivery times.
Earlier this year, the company established a joint venture in Hong Kong to market H2O Plus products. The JV, C2O Plus Asia Limited, was formed with Asia Development Enterprise Co., Ltd., which already had a distribution agreement with H2O Plus. Under terms of the agreement, H2O Plus will hold 51% of the JV.
Thanks to international sales gains posted by Jurlique and H2O Plus, Pola’s first quarter sales jumped nearly 6%. Jurlique and H2O Plus both benefitted from expansion in China, while the Pola brand expanded in Russia and Orbis built a wider presence in Asia.
For the year, the company expects beauty sales to increase 4.2%.
Looking forward, the firm has a three-pronged strategy that “balances investments for future growth, profitability, and efficiency, based on a solid financial footing and sufficient cash to finance business expansion.” The primary use of cash, according to the company, will continue to be for overseas investments.
“The perspective that guided our acquisition of Jurlique and H2O Plus will continue to direct us toward carefully selected targets with well-defined brand concepts and the potential to raise profitability to the level we seek to achieve in our long-term vision,” noted Pola Orbis’ leader Satoshi Suzuki, in the firm’s 2012 annual report.
In R&D, Pola netted a coveted prize among cosmetic chemists: a poster award at the 27th International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists Congress. The poster was based on work that analyzed the structure of dendrites, a cell structure linked to accumulation of melanin, the cause of uneven pigmentation. Pola’s research team applied techniques to thoroughly analyze genetic conditions in humans in the quest to discover new factors that would control the number of dendrites. They identified adrenomedullin from more than 45,000 possible candidates as a melanocyte-activating factor, as it increased the number of dendrites.