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Unilever buys S. Korean cosmetics firm for US$2.7 bln

All Headlines 21:31 September 25, 2017

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever said Monday it has agreed to acquire a South Korean cosmetics firm for 2.27 billion euros (US$2.7 billion) as it attempts to tap deeper into the Asian beauty market.

The company co-headquartered in London and Rotterdam said it has agreed to buy Carver Korea, South Korea's third-largest cosmetics firm, from Bain Capital Private Equity, Goldman Sachs and the company's founder.

The deal delivers a whopping profit for the two global investment companies which purchased a 60-percent stake in Carver Korea for 430 billion won ($397 million) in June last year.

The contract also marks the largest merger and acquisition deal ever for a South Korean cosmetics firm.

"We are delighted to be acquiring Carver Korea," Alan Jope, Unilever President Personal Care said in a press release. "It will significantly strengthen our position in North Asia, the largest skincare market in the world."

Founded in 1999, Carver Korea is known for its signature brand AHC under which it makes products for age management, hydration and nourishment. AHC's products also include moisturizers, toners and sun protection.

Carver Korea has shown sharp growth over the last five years, becoming the fastest growing skincare business in South Korea.

It logged an operating income of 180 billion won last year, up 273 percent from a year earlier. 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.

Carver Korea's stellar performance is in stark contrast to its bigger local rivals such as AmorePacific Co. which have suffered a sharp drop in sales and profitability amid a growing diplomatic row with China over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile shield system in South Korea.

Jope said the purchase will enable Unilever to "offer luxury skincare products at attainable price points."

"South Korea is the fourth-largest skincare market in the world," the company said in the statement. "Carver has a very strong position in this space, and it will therefore strengthen Unilever's expertise in the Asian beauty market."

In this photo provided by AHC, cosmetics brand under Carver Korea, South Korean actress Lee Bo-young poses for a photo in front of a photo wall in Seoul on Sept. 5, 2017. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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