Petersburg Products International, where great razor blades are made

Gillette opened their razor manufacturing plant in St Petersburg, Russia, near Pulkovo airport, in June 2000, it represented an investment of $40 million and pretty soon was employing 500 people, which made it one of the major razor manufacturing plants in the world with a capacity of 860 million blades a year. It is a joint venture with Leninets, a conglomerate with interests from military avionics to consumer goods, and Gillette have a 65% stake. Our interest here is that this factory is home to quite a few different brands of double edged (DE) razor blade that are sold in many countries.

In 2004 the facility was greatly expanded with an investment of 502 million roubles. At the same time two Gillette factories in Great Britain were closed down and their production moved to St Peterburg. This seems to be a pattern Gillette followed in consolidating their production in this Russian factory, especially that of DE blades. The factory was expanded again recently with a big new building.

So what comes out of this factory ( I am no academic so this is not by any means a definitive list):

Gillette Super Stainless, these are known in the shaving world as “Swedes” because they have the address of Gillette’s Swedish distributor on the back. These were packed on a red card.

Gillette Platinum. The same blade as the Swede but packed on a blue card and with only the British distributor’s address in Surrey on the back.

Permasharp. These blades were originally made by a Turkish company called Permatik Celik Sanayi. Gillette bought the company and in 2003 moved production of the DE blades to St Petersburg. The blades made after the move are reckoned to be superior. This brand was popular in the old Soviet Union.

Iridium Super. My favourite blade, and I am not the only one. Plenty of people have stockpiles of these in case production stops. Originally these were a Polish brand made by Wizamet before it was bought by Gillette.

Astra. Superior Platinum, Super Stainless and Keramik. A Czech brand made by Prago Union, which was bought by Gillette and which then transferred production to Russia.

Sputnik. I these are primarily a Russian market blade and the text on the packaging is in Cyrilic. The brand was owned by a Russian company called Factory for Consumer Products (FCP) which was bought by Petersburg Products International in 1996, giving Gillette their first toe hold in Russian manufacturing. (The whole story is in the book Cutting Edge). The main Russian market blade not made by Gillette is Rapira.

Polsilver. A huge Polish brand made by Wizamet which was bought by Gillette. Polsilver Stainless are now made in St Petersburg for the Polish market.

Gillette 7 O’Clock Super Stainless in the green packaging. Not to be confused with the 7 O’Clock Permasharp Stainless in the nearly identical green packaging, which is made in India and is not rated anywhere near as highly.

Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge in the yellow packaging. Very highly rated by shaving enthusiasts. I put these in my starter kit.

Rotbart. For the German market.They come in Extra Dunn and Supersanft flavours.

Nacet. One of the more obscure brands from this factory, packed in a box with a crocodile pictured on it. Were formerly made in the Czech factory.

Tiger. From the same company in the Czech republic that Astra blades came from that was bought by Gillette. This brand seems to be currently in limbo. If Gillette are still making them you know where it will be.

It is difficult to know what differences, if any there are between the brands. Gillette could very easily change the steel, the honing and the coatings to differentiate between them. Or they could just run the same razor blades into different packaging. The main target markets for these blades are Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe, obviously Gillette want to convert these markets over to multibladed system razors so that they can make more money. So the long term future of all these brands is possibly not secure.

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22 comments ↓

#1 Timothy on 09.20.10 at 11:14 pm

Gillette and Budweiser share the same marketing strategy. Buy any competitor that represents a threat. Move the production. Sterilize the product and squeeze every cent out of it. Wow. These guys just destroy everyone who represents a threat. Think my dollars will go to Souplex or Lord. Are they Gillette?

#2 Bruce on 09.21.10 at 6:19 am

Souplex was a razor manufacturer in Morecambe, England, I have two of their razors.
Now it is a brand name used by Medyna in Solingen, Germany. Here is their website: http://www.medyna.de/
Lord blades are made by Lord precision industries in Alexandria, Egypt. They also sell under a range of other brand names, including Shark. Here is their website: http://www.razorslord.com/about/

And I have found yet another blade made by Gillette in St Petersburg, it is the Gillette Bleue. I am sure that there are more that I have missed.

#3 Bruce on 10.13.10 at 9:34 am

A very interesting article about Gillette “Swedes”:
http://www.razorandbrush.com/Gillettes.html

#4 Bruce on 10.29.10 at 3:08 pm

Minora is another brand I missed. Sold in Africa.

#5 Bruce on 11.01.10 at 1:53 pm

Yet another brand: The Gillette Rubie.

#6 Graham on 02.20.11 at 5:02 pm

Bruce
Interesting stuff you are writing on the subject of Gillette blades and their strategy. Bearing in mind there is a minority stakeholder in Petersburg, do you think that the Russian government would allow Gillette to simply shut up shop and move to China? Surely Petersburg would just take over the factory and continue production, removing Gillette’s name? P & G are a ruthless company, but not in the league of the Russian government.

#7 Winblows on 06.13.11 at 3:55 pm

Very useful page. I spent a lot of time searching for clues regarding real shaving and I think, this is the best one. Short and accurate. I found these pages while I searched GOOGLE for some Gillette razor blades. Thank You :-)
PS.: I’ll gladly read some about choosing the ultimate DE razor.

#8 Taoufik LAHLOU on 03.01.12 at 3:17 pm

Dear Sirs
We have a complete plant to produce double edge razros blades to sell In casablanca Morocco. All technologie is from Wilkinson sword England. We have a double line Wild Barfieldf furnace who works only 2 years. All the plant are to sell. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

#9 Maxime D. on 05.31.12 at 1:17 am

Good evening Mr.Bruce,

I was wondering if you have tried the russian made Perma-Sharp Super ? I heard rumors, they could be rebranded Super Iridium or a very close relative ? I can’t compare myself because I haven’t tried the Iridiums (A bit expensive for my wallet 52$/100) but my face tell me that the Perma-sharp are really good blades and worth to be stacked.

#10 RoNALD on 07.17.12 at 12:25 pm

Gillette Rubie Ultra Stainless is now pirated by china and widely distributed in our country Philippines, im a fan of Gillette Rubie blades as for my experience way back 7years its the best blade but since the blade become porrer and Thiner although there are some markets selling the original one ,I change my brand to DORCO blades made in KOREA which is more sharper and thicker. I dont know why these Gillette Rubie blades are pirated by Chinese and dont have an action by the Gillette Campany.

#11 Jiri Marek on 07.20.12 at 1:25 pm

Dear Bruce
Tiger carbon steel blades are still manufactured in Czech Republic in company Czech Blades and this is our best seller in carbon steel blades. Astra blades used to be produced in company DIU, then re-named Astra Diu in the same plant in Jevičko where we are based before Gillette moved the production of stainless steel blades to Russia.
Regards Jiri Marek

#12 Hatim Eltahir Elnaeim on 10.11.12 at 12:31 pm

1 am interested in the blade -conventional old blade- manufacturing unit to buy .

#13 Hatim Eltahir Elnaeim on 10.11.12 at 12:37 pm

I am interested to buy the machine which manufactures the convevtional old shaving blade .

#14 Mr Lyes Berkane on 12.24.12 at 3:18 pm

Dear,Sir i am intresting to buy gillette silver bleu blades from russia and export to north africa could you please get back to me with some knoweldge via my e.mail add thank you very much
Reagrds
Lyes

#15 Smail Rahmouni on 01.08.13 at 9:09 am

Dear Mr Lahlou Taoufik

I am also from Casablanca and i am intérested in your plant, you can send me an email so that We get in touch, Smail.rahmouni@gmail.com or give me a call 0661681217.

Thank you for this gréât article very interesting, I am looking into investing in this industry.

#16 omer on 01.10.13 at 10:41 am

can you mail me your agents for astra in iran india and armania

#17 Kishore on 04.01.13 at 5:17 pm

Can you please let me know the Agent or distribuitor for Iridum Blades in Spain. Thanks

#18 nimer hussin on 05.26.13 at 8:49 am

Dear Whom May Concern
Executive Summary
Nimer Hussein Est. for Importing & Exporting one of the biggest companies in trading that located in Amman – Jordan. We do import so many kinds of goods from many countries and we have a very good and strong friendly business relationship with so many factories. And we have our own brands and work in different markets in the Middle East. We do import various kind of goods from china mostly, Korea, Taiwan, India…etc. and we made strong business relationship with them and send our goods to different markets in middle east Specially Iraq , Syria , Dubai, North Iraq , and other different markets. most Items that we are dealing with is Bulb with different kinds and shapes, Lighters, Batteries and our business in these fields are so big and we have our own registered brands in Bulbs & Lighters, Also we are dealing with other products like candles, shoe polish, football, glass ball, Toothpaste, Razors, disposable items in general…etc. The general manager of establishment is Mr. Nimer Hussain (GM) is the heart of company and he is well known person in our area because he is working in trading from 20 years in fulfill of credibility & faithfulness and established a strong & trusted relationships with a lot of factories, suppliers & clients.
Products

We are dealing with many products (around 200 products) from many countries worldwide and the below some of products that we are dealing with
1. Razor .
2. Bulb : different kind of .
3. Energy Saving Lamp .
4. Broom .
5. Plastic Rope .
6. Balls .
7. Nail clipper .
8. Snow Spray .
9. Show polish .
10. Candle . ETC
Also we have our Own Trade Marks among the Middle east Area , Such As :
1. President .
2. Dorco
3. Royal
4. Golden rope . etc ,
Hope To Get good cooperation with you in the razor item double edge , So pls send us your qutation for packing and prices ,
Awaiting your soonest reply
Thanks & Regards

#19 nimer hussin on 05.26.13 at 11:00 am

Dear Whom May Concern
Executive Summary
Nimer Hussein Est. for Importing & Exporting one of the biggest companies in trading that located in Amman – Jordan. We do import so many kinds of goods from many countries and we have a very good and strong friendly business relationship with so many factories. And we have our own brands and work in different markets in the Middle East. We do import various kind of goods from china mostly, Korea, Taiwan, India…etc. and we made strong business relationship with them and send our goods to different markets in middle east Specially Iraq , Syria , Dubai, North Iraq , and other different markets. most Items that we are dealing with is Bulb with different kinds and shapes, Lighters, Batteries and our business in these fields are so big and we have our own registered brands in Bulbs & Lighters, Also we are dealing with other products like candles, shoe polish, football, glass ball, Toothpaste, Razors, disposable items in general…etcHope To Get good cooperation with you in the razor item double edge , So pls send us your qutation for packing and prices ,
Awaiting your soonest reply
Thanks & Regards

#20 Simo mcllech on 09.26.13 at 1:06 pm

Hi guys

Anybody CAN send me the address and phone number of super iridum in Saint Petersburg

Thanks

#21 cem on 12.07.13 at 10:57 am

Hello,
How can I find mail address or web side of Petersburg Product International?

#22 cem on 12.07.13 at 11:00 am

or any contact to import perma sharp from
Russia to
Turkey?

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