Bic (company)

(Redirected from Société Bic)

Société Bic S.A., commonly called Bic and stylized as BiC, is a French manufacturing corporation based in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine. A world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers for more than 75 years, BIC has become one of the world’s most recognized brands and is a trademark registered worldwide. It was founded in 1945 by Marcel Bich.[3]

Société Bic S.A.
TypeSociété Anonyme
Euronext ParisBB
CAC Mid 60 Component
Founded25 October 1945; 78 years ago (1945-10-25)
Area served
Key people
Gonzalve Bich (CEO)[1]
RevenueIncrease€2.233 billion (2022)[2]
Increase€303.5 million (2022)
Decrease€208.9 million (2022)
Total assetsIncrease€2.6835 billion (2022)
Total equityIncrease€1.8763 billion (2022)
OwnerBich family
Number of employees
15,898 (2022)

History edit

In 1942, Marcel Bich and his partner, Édouard Buffard, set up a business creating writing instrument parts in a factory in the Paris suburb of Clichy, where they began production of pen holders and pencil cases.[4] Marcel Bich bought the patent for the ballpoint pen from Hungarian inventor László Bíró, and using Swiss watchmaking tools, he devised a manufacturing process that produced stainless-steel balls for the tip of the pen.[5] Bich soon perfected the design of the ballpoint pen, and the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen became the company's first product in 1950.[6][7] The Bic Cristal has sold over one hundred billion units since its launch in 1950.[8]

Bich formed Société Bic in 1953,[4] and the company was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1972.[9] The design of the pen has remained mostly unchanged since its initial launch, and as of 2021, remains the best-selling pen in the world.[10]

Bic Cristal pen
A Bic cigarette lighter

Between 1950 and the 1970s, BIC expanded globally into Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain. In 1956, the company established itself in Brazil, and soon after expanded into the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Scandinavia in 1957.[5] In 1958, the takeover of the American company "Waterman Pen Company" allowed BIC to establish itself in the United States while continuing its development in Africa and the Middle East.[11] In 1959, BIC acquired the Swedish company Ballograf.[12]

On November 20, 1962, BIC launched a range of three luxury ballpoint pens: Chrome, Luxury, and Grand Luxury. In 1969, Bic launched its advertising campaign in the United States. A year later, the 4-color Bic was launched. The 4 color pen allowed one to change the ink color without changing the pen.[13] Bic's ability to mass produce the manufacturing of their pens resulted in low prices.[14]

The Conté company was acquired by BIC in 1979.[15] In 1981, BIC launched "BIC Sport", which specializes in windsurfing boards. In 1985, the “BIC Mini lighter” was launched and, in 1991, the company launched the “BIC Electronic” lighter. The group began its expansion into Eastern Europe in 1995, and, in 1996, BIC Graphic Europe was formed. In 1997, BIC acquired the Tipp-Ex brand as well as Sheaffer.[16] The company further expanded into Asia.

1990s–present edit

In 1992, Bic purchased Wite-Out Products, an American brand of correction products, and subsequently reintroduced the correction fluid as Bic Wite Out.[17]

In 2000, the Marne-la-Vallée factory opened. Two years later, the company launched BIC Sport kayaks, and the BIC Comfort 3 & BIC Soleil razors were both released soon after. In 2004, BIC acquired Stypen SA[18] and Kosaido Shoji.[19]

In the summer of 2008, Bic launched the Bic Phone, marketed primarily in France and Belgium. It was advertised as a ready-to-use phone with one hour of communication and integrated SIM card and charged battery. The SIM card came loaded with 10 minutes of prepaid calls.[20]

In December 2015, BIC acquired 100 percent ownership in Cello Writing, India, and the company was renamed as "BIC Cello (India)".[21] Cello was founded in 1995 and, as of December 2015, is India's largest manufacturer and distributor of writing instruments.[22] In 2019 BIC inaugurated a new facility located in Nairobi, Kenya, which serves the East Africa region.[23] As of May 2021, BIC has over 25 factories around the world.[5] BIC's global headquarters remains in Clichy, outside of Paris, France. Its U.S. headquarters are in Shelton, Connecticut.[24]

In 2018, BIC introduced a new line of temporary tattoo markers called BodyMark by BIC.[25] Soon after, in 2019, Bic launched the Made For You grooming line, a line of shaving products without gender labels.[26]

In 2020, BIC purchased Djeep, a manufacturer of high-end and personalized lighters. The acquisition allowed Bic to expand its customizable lighter range.[27] That same year, Bic acquired Rocketbook, a smart reusable notebook brand in the U.S., in order to bring together analogue and digital writing.[28]

Among the eco-friendly products introduced in 2021 as part of the BIC ReVolution product line includes three ballpoint pen products, including one made of 73% recycled ocean plastic,[29] mechanical pencils made of 65% recycled plastic,[30] permanent markers made of 51% recycled plastic, as well as correction tape made of 56% recycled plastic.[29]

In May 2021, BIC launched an ad campaign featuring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg to promote their new EZ Reach lighter.[31]

In January 2022, BIC acquired Inkbox, a Canadian semi-permanent tattoo brand, for $US65 million.[32] Soon after, in August 2022, BIC also acquired Tattly, a company that produces high-quality temporary tattoos designed by artists.[33] In 2023, BIC launched EasyRinse, a razor with the first-of-its-kind reverse blade design and patented anti-clog technology.[34]

Products edit

Lighters edit

Bic's earliest lighters were mentioned in 1972 by Time as test marketed disposable lighters with a lifespan of 3,000 lights.[35] The following year, Bic's lighters were commercially introduced in order to compete with Gillette's Cricket lighters.[36] These lighters, made using plastic,[37] initially had only five colours,[38] but they were competitively sold at a low price, which ultimately led to Gillette leaving the lighter market. At the time, Bic lighters accounted for around 65% of disposable lighter sales,[35] and they still continue to be cheap and popular.[39] Bic operates a factory specifically for manufacturing lighters in Redon, made up of 400 employees who produce 750 million lighters yearly.[40]

Razors edit

A single-blade Bic razor

During the 1980s, Bic shaving products reached $US52 million in sales and had 22.4% of the market.[41] In 1981, Bic began a subsidiary called Bic Sport, which manufactured and sold water sports products.[42] Bic announced the sale of Bic Sport to the Estonian company Tahe Outdoor in 2019.[43]

In 1989, Bic attempted further product diversification with the introduction of pocket-sized perfume spritzers. The perfumes were withdrawn in 1991.[44]

Bic's shaving portfolio expanded throughout the 1990s and 2000s, adding the Soleil, a brand of razors for women, in 2004, and increasing the number of blades until the Flex 5 launched, with five blades, in January 2015 in the United States.[45][46]

Environmental efforts edit

BIC Ecolutions HB Mechanical Pencils

In 2021, Bic introduced an eco-friendly stationery product line called Bic ReVolution. Products sold under this line, including ball and stick pens, mechanical pencils, permanent markers and correction tape, were made using at least 50% recycled plastic, as well as the paperboard used in all of the packaging being made of 100% recycled material.[47][48] In 2022, Bic joined One Percent for the Planet, an environmental organization in which its members contribute at least one percent of their annual revenue to protect the environment. As a part of joining, one percent of annual sales from BIC ReVolution goes towards supporting environmental nonprofits.[49]

By 2025, Bic plans on having 100% of its packaging use reusable, recyclable or compostable material. Additionally, Bic's products will contain 50% non-virgin plastic by 2030.[29]

Ownership edit

The Bich family owns about 46% of issued shares and controls 63% of its voting power.[50]

Sponsorship edit

Bic sponsored a professional cycling team in the 1960s, led by Tour de France winners Jacques Anquetil and Luis Ocaña.[51] The company began sponsoring the Tour again in 2011 as an "official supporter",[52] which they have continued to do to the present day.[citation needed]

Bic also sponsored the Alain Prost–led Prost Grand Prix team in Formula One from 1997 to 2000.

Corporate identity edit


The corporate logo comprises two parts; a rhomboid with curved corners, left and right sides angled upward and containing the letters "BiC" with "i" the only one in lower case, and the Bic Boy to its left. The rhomboid, which debuted in 1950 to coincide with the launch of the Bic Cristal, was originally red with white letters. The font of the letters remains unchanged. The Bic Boy is described on the corporation's website as "a schoolboy, with a head in the shape of a ball, holding a pen behind his back." The ball is the tungsten carbide one that was the key feature in Bic's new ballpoint pens in 1960. The schoolboy was designed by Raymond Savignac who also developed the product's "Nouvelle Bille" (new ballpoint) advertising campaign, which was intended to attract the attention of children. When the Bic Boy was added to the left of the rhomboid one year later in 1961, both changed to the newly adopted official corporate colour of orange (Pantone 1235C).[53][54]

In popular culture edit

In 2018, Centquatre-Paris featured a Bic exhibition, which included 150 works created with the Bic collection. The exhibition included works from works by Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte and Fernand Léger, Martin Parr and Mamadou Cissé.[55][56]

The Bic Cristal is exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Center Pompidou in Paris.[5]

In 2020, the Bic Corporate Foundation was recognized in the Netflix Documentary On Est Ensemble. The film follows French social entrepreneur Stephane de Freitas on his journey to meet social change worldwide, introducing viewers to the organization's work in Brazil to educate and empower women.[57]

In July 2021, Bic partnered with iconic French 19th-century department store La Samaritaine to create a limited-edition collection of products inspired by the façade for which it is famous.[58]

Additionally, in August 2021, to celebrate more than 70 years of the Cristal Ballpoint Pen, Bic has collaborated with luxury French malletier, Pinel et Pinel, on the launch of a special-edition version of its iconic pen.[59]

In 2023 BIC launched a special edition 4-Color Marvel Studios’ The Marvels Edition Retractable Ballpoint Pen.[60]

Filmography edit

  • Le Bic Cristal, a documentary for television directed by Danielle Schirman and first aired on Arte in October 2005.[61][62]

References edit

  1. ^ "Bic Group restructures global comms team" (website).
  2. ^ "BIC". BIC. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  3. ^ "Bic - Full Year 2021 Results" (PDF). Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b Saxon, Wolfgang (1 June 1994). "Marcel Bich, 79, Dies; Cheap Pens Yielded Riches". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Stadler, Sophie (9 April 2021). "Stylo Bic, ce jetable qui semble éternel". (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Bic, à court d'encre, prépare son avenir". Investir (in French). 21 October 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Il était une fois : le stylo Bic Cristal". Leparticulier (in French). 10 November 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Nombre de stylos Bic Cristal vendus en France". Planetoscope. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  9. ^ "Bic boss Bruno Bich not disposable after all". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 22 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Planetoscope - Statistiques : Nombre de stylos Bic Cristal vendus en France".
  11. ^ "Milford Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Connecticut businesses and Connecticut events Milford CT chamber of commerce". 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  12. ^ "About us". Ballograf AB. Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  13. ^ "Le Bic quatre couleurs fête son demi-siècle". DH Les Sports + (in French). 1 August 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  14. ^ Stinson, Liz. "The Bic Stops Here: In Praise of the Humble Stick Pen". Wired. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  15. ^ "Conte Archives". Brand Name Pencils. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Le groupe Bic achète l'allemand Tipp-Ex". Les Echos. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  17. ^ Klara, Robert (5 March 2018). "A Pioneering Single Mom Created Liquid Paper, and It's Been Fixing Typos for 60 Years Now". Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Bic rachète les stylos Stypen". LSA. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  19. ^ "Bic : acquisition de Kosaido Shoji Publié le 01/04/2004 à 06h59". Boursier. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  20. ^ Sayer, Peter (11 July 2008). "Bic phone is no throw-away gadget, says Orange". Network World. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  21. ^ Web page titled "Who Are We" at the Cello Writing website, retrieved 8 July 2020
  22. ^ Raghunathan, Anu. "French Stationery Major Bic Buys India's Largest Maker Of Writing Instruments - Cello Pens". Forbes. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  23. ^ Sturman, Michelle (12 March 2019). "Bic opens East Africa facility". Office Products International. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Hundreds to lose jobs as Bic moves headquarters from Milford to Shelton". News 12 - Connecticut. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  25. ^ "Give Yourself A Temporary Tattoo With New Skin-safe Markers". KJRH. 12 March 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Bic Launches 'Made for You' Shaving Products Without Gender Labels". Cheddar. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Pourquoi Bic rachète la première usine de briquets de son histoire". Les Echos (in French). 16 June 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Bic: Acquisition of Rocketbook, the leading smart reusable notebook brand in the U.S." (Press release). 9 November 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Holbrook, Emily (26 September 2022). "BIC Joins 1% for the Planet". Environment+Energy Leader. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  30. ^ Austin, We Are (17 August 2022). "Back-to-School Special: Check out BIC's eco-friendly Revolution line". KEYE. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  31. ^ Lepitak, Stephen (4 May 2021). "Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart Promote Bic Lighter in New Partnership". Adweek.
  32. ^ "Bic Will Acquire Inkbox, the Cutting Edge, Semi-Permanent Tattoo Brand, Becoming a Leader of Fast-Growing Skin Creative Industry". (Press release).
  33. ^ "Tattly". Pitchbook. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  34. ^ "BIC Partners With Eric Andre and Annie Murphy To Launch New BIC EasyRinse Razor". Newswire. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  35. ^ a b "History of Bic Corporation – FundingUniverse".
  36. ^ Staff Writer (4 August 2015). "Who Invented the Bic Lighter?". Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  37. ^ "From a spark to a flame: a short history of the lighter". Stûv - Poêles, Inserts & Cheminées (Bois - Pellets - Gaz). 2 October 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  38. ^ "The World Has "Flicked Its BIC" For 40 Years!". 28 June 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  39. ^ "A Brief History of Flame: The Story of the Everyday Lighter". Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  40. ^ Lefort, Pierre-Antoine (8 December 2021). "Redon : Bic invente la première machine au monde à recycler les briquets". France Bleu Armorique (in French). Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  41. ^ "Bic disposable razor (1975)". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  42. ^ "One of history's most prolific inventions". New Atlas. 29 August 2005. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  43. ^ "Bic cède sa filiale sport au numéro un européen des kayaks". Les Echos (in French). 2 January 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  44. ^ Tank, Aytekin (24 January 2020). "This Entrepreneur Pitfall is a Primal Impulse". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  45. ^ "Bic plots refillable shaver for women". Marketing Week. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  46. ^ "Le rasoir Bic". Les Echos (in French). 28 July 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  47. ^ Missakian, Natalie (16 April 2021). "Bic launches eco-friendly stationery line". New Haven Biz. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  48. ^ Corporation, B. I. C. (13 April 2021). "BIC USA Inc. Launches Its First Full Range Eco-Friendly Stationery Line Made Of At Least 50% Recycled Plastic". Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  49. ^ "BIC Joins 1% For The Planet To Further Enhance Commitment To Positive Environmental Impact Efforts". Waste360. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  50. ^ "Bic: La famille Bich détient 45,4% du capital".
  51. ^ "Historic Overview Bic".
  52. ^ "BIC Official Supporter of the Tour de France". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  53. ^ "Bic Logo History". Retrieved 22 July 2022.
  54. ^ "Our Heritage, Your Passion".
  55. ^ "Des oeuvres au stylo Bic, exposition insolite au Centquatre à Paris". (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  56. ^ Levent, Christophe (30 April 2018). "Exposition: on peut tout faire avec un Bic". (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  57. ^ "Bic Corporate Foundation Recognized in New Netflix Documentary".
  58. ^ "Bic Creates Exclusive Collection of Products for the Reopening of la Samaritaine".
  59. ^ "French houses Bic and Pinel et Pinel come together to unveil an iconic ballpoint pen - the Cristal". 30 June 2021.
  60. ^ "Bic set to release". Laughing Place. Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  61. ^ " - Portail du film documentaire". Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  62. ^ "Le Bic cristal de Danielle Schirman - (2004) - Documentaire". (in French). Retrieved 23 February 2021.

External links edit