Following the rotary movement of the wrist, the liquid rose amber hues wife walls of glass. Paul-François Vranken, owner of the domain above since 2006, when not his pleasure when he hume the smell of the foot Franc, cuvée prestige, derived from plants growing in the sands of the Camargue. One of the rare vineyards to be saved in France by the attack of the phylloxera, early last century. "On the field of Jarras were recovered 80 hectares of feet in the time before the epidemic." "This is what gives its uniqueness to this cuvée", explains the new pattern of Listel with gluttony.
Thirty years after to be installed at Vindey, Gaulish village where was planted the first vines champenoise, Liège Paul-François Vranken has embarked on the adventure of wine rose with intact enthusiasm. Its goal: improve quality, enhance the image, enhancing the product through an art of marketing. In a country where many of the excellent wines and rosé often poorly loved, need the audacity of a contractor came also to engage in such challenge with the will of all focus on quality. In fact, the contractor plays, in another, and with other means, the beautiful story which pulled him on the podium in Champagne. Vranken-Pommery monopoly (PMT) group, which it owns 75, is now the third player in the profession with a turnover of EUR 286,8 million. Far however behind LVMH and same Boizel Canon, who surpassed him in 2006 by taking control of houses of Lanson and Burtin.
A pioneer in hypermarkets
A hear Paul - François Vranken, he would be fallen very small in the champagne. Often, the weekend, his uncle took it in its rémoises getaways and his imagination was enlivened by this atmosphere happily bathed bubbles. It is therefore naturally that twenty-three years, the Walloon young acquires, with a raised pay by selling champagne Belgium on behalf of Bass & Charrington, a building and a few acres of land at the edge of the champenoise area. With a certain candour, he thought that this was sufficient to start a House, and he acquires, the first year of 16 tons of grapes for start its stock. At the same time he purchased 3,000 bottles marketed under his name. This daring it enjoys today. As history gave him reason as "Pmt" has sold over 20 million bottles last year.
This success is the result of a mastery of the paradox: since its installation, the new Champenois tried soak traditions. "I've had the chance to get a friend who belonged to this world, say, quite closed. It helped me to learn the rules and do me accept. "Vintners quickly realized that I had a peasant", says CEO with a laugh. "He was able, with great intelligence, create networks and understand the modes of operation", confirms a man from the Seraglio. But behind the Terran, respectful of the habits and customs, hides a great commercial that focuses the dissatisfaction. In the wake of Marne and Champagne, he decides that its production will be available in the hyper and supermarkets. "This had shocked the large houses, which were that it was unethical," remembers the champagne expert. Now essential channel, including the most famous of them, but that, in the beginning, gave a "low range" image Vranken, then widow Monnier, acquired in 1978.
The success of the "Lady".
However, this strategy promoted the development of the consumption of this beverage very elitist reputation. The progression is never contradicted since. Global demand has grown from 4 to 5 per year to achieve, in 2007, 338,7 million bottles, of which 187 million sold in France.
With a remarkable flair, Paul-François Vranken retrieves the marks to get in range image of the group. He acquired the Charles Lafitte, in 1983, cognac history to expand its commercial palette, and take this opportunity to create a champagne of the same name, which today represents 10 of its sales in this sector. But the true genius of this first period of expansion is launched the "Damsel" mark in 1988. Women and champagne have always done good household. This new bottle necked slender positions the group a younger female market and attracted a new audience. Twenty years after, this bottle of inspiration new Art, "a period that I love", says Paul-François Vranken, is declined in six batch and is one of the great success of Pmt.
Thus, in ten years, the champagne Belgian is built a portfolio of trademarks capable of responding to approach diverse consumer, pricing and different kinds of expectations, as the selection of a champagne is often a matter of style. Have a wide choice of products is an asset to its commercial network. Hence diversification into wine with Listel (50 million bottles), and also in the port. In 1986, Vranken has created brand Sao Pedro, advantageously completed, thirteen years later, by the acquisition of the prestigious House Rozes. "Paul-François Vranken has always shown a certain consistency in its strategy, analysis a rémois observer." It is positioned on a medium market with products of range, then it goes up in quality. This is what he has done for the champagne, for port, and this is what it is now in pink. "The PMT CEO adds on his side:" these products have in common to be of assemblages, i.e. of expertise. " They are the epitome of recognized terroirs, including international. I find it exciting.
It is Thierry Gasco, oenologist of Pommery, the last big acquisition, in 2002, and the jewel of the group, that the pattern has responsible for overseeing the development of the new batch of rosé. The head of cellar, also President of France oenologists, is just as much love as technician of the wine. It seems to take the same pleasure to work the grey of grey above than the prestigious cuvées heirs of the great champagne Lady, Louise Pommery. "When Mr. Vranken bought Pommery and its heavy heritage, the princes of Polignac, the Tudor Castle in city of Reims, the establishment has wondered if his company could support this legacy", continues a connoisseur of the environment, before adding: "he knew the challenge with talent, while keeping the identity Vranken.". It is a true success.
House Pommery and a portion of its assets to the Group LVMH for 180 million euros, the group completed its palette high-end, the flagship was until then Heidsieck and Co monopoly, a brand founded in 1785 by a young German and always helped its different owners to ensure a beautiful German presence. Pmt occupies 10 of this market of 12.9 million bottles, a position he wants to hold in all major countries of export.
Cap on Asia
This aggressive policy of diversification is not without heavy financial counterparties. End of 2007, the debt of the group, listed in Paris and Brussels, was set up to EUR 476 million, compared with 429,9 million in 2006. This increase reflects a proactive development policy since EUR 40 million has been devoted to strengthening strategic stocks, a key to the commercial health of the champagne houses parameter. "In 2001, sold 10 million bottles, today it sells double." "As the champagne must have at least fifteen months of cellar before being sold and three years for the vintage, on average two and a half years of production are needed to meet our sales growth", says Paul Bamberger, CEO of the group. The indebtedness of Pmt is therefore covered and beyond by the 61 million bottles of the stock, valued at their cost of production at EUR 509,5 million. But it is nonetheless significant financial costs since they exceed EUR 22 million in 2007.
If demand remains strong in France, pmt, whose activity rose by 6.9 in 2007, knows that its development through its expansion abroad, uncapped who now absorbs 45 of its production. CAP is placed on Asia, specially in the Japan, where a subsidiary was created last year. "The effectiveness of the subsidiaries from independent distributors is decisive to penetrate a market," said the CEO, very satisfied to have regained control of the distribution of its products in the United States, even if that country has become difficult, sales being hit hard by the decline of the dollar. In 2007, the U.S. market contracted by 6.2 and dropped to 21.7 million bottles, affecting also the beautiful labels such as Pommery, but to a lesser extent. Where the PMT will pursue its strategy for premium brands, necessarily less permeable to the crisis, wealthy champagne lovers being more numerous on the planet.