Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Unilever steps up beauty push with $2.7 billion Carver Korea deal

Unilever enters K-beauty market with acquisition of Carver Korea for €2.27 billion AHC Carver Korea
Christy Curtis | 26 September, 2017, 01:07

Carver Korea's AHC brand, pictured here, will be acquired by Unilever.

In a move aimed at consolidating its position in the skincare market, Unilever announced today that it will be buying a South Korean cosmetics firm "Carver Korea" for £1.9bn from shareholders including Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital.

Founded in 1999, Carver Korea is known for its signature brand AHC under which it makes products for age management, hydration and nourishment. Based on that figure, Unilever paid 16.6 times EBITDA, in line with home and personal care deals over the past decade. "It will significantly strengthen our position in North Asia, the largest skincare market in the world; and will complement our existing portfolio, enabling us to offer luxury skincare products at attainable price points", said Alan Jope, president of Unilever's Personal Care business, in a statement. The company also saw its sales jump 174 percent on-year from 156.5 billion won in 2015 to 429.5 billion won last year.

The company had already been trying to become more reliant on bath, body and beauty products, which tend to have higher growth and margins than food. Bain Capital agreed to invest about $816 million in beauty-products maker Hugel Inc.in April, after Goldman and Bain bought a majority stake in Carver previous year.

Founded in 1999, Carver, which produces moisturisers, face masks and sun creams, was bought by Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital a year ago, when it reported revenues of €321m, nearly three times as high as in the previous 12 months. The FTSE 100 group further notes that South Korea is the fourth-largest skincare market in the world, as well as a source of global beauty trends, with the term "K-Beauty" becoming a globally-used shorthand for sophisticated skincare that is widely exported. It sells essences, toners, moisturizers, masks, and sun protection.

"Unilever is a strong partner to help the company in its next phase of growth and development".

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