Unilever share price: Group to buy Carver Korea for €2.27bn

The growing trend of K-beauty Korean women hold the record for most cosmetic products used in a day- Source PA Images

Korean cosmetics brands have always been popular in China, a factor in Unilever's just-announced acquisition of a majority stake of Carver Korea, but this move comes as leading Korean beauty company Amorepacific expands in the opposite direction. Operating profit of Amorepacific, South Korea's largest cosmetics company, dropped 58 per cent in the second quarter.

Carver transaction would "significantly strengthen our position in North Asia, the largest skincare market in the world", said Alan Jope, the president of personal care division at Unilever.

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 deal to buy the 60.39 percent stake is aimed at helping Unilever make headway in China, the report said, citing unidentified investment banking sources.

So much so that the business today is said to be one of the fastest growing in terms of skincare today, having built its original reputation as an aesthetics company supplying professional products to beauty salons.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group announced the deal with Carver owners Bain Capital Private Equity and Goldman Sachs on Monday. AHC's products also include moisturizers, toners and sun protection. But the company has also been adding to its personal-care with deals like the purchase of brands such as Savital shampoo from Latin America consumer goods giant Quala, in May, and Dollar Shave Club previous year. In 2015, Carver posted total sales of about $130 million.

Unilever made its formal move on Carver Korea yesterday for a business that was founded back in 1999 and which has shown impressive growth over the last five years, delivering sales of €321m ($379m) and EBITDA of €137m ($162m) in 2016. "Unilever is seeking to have new growth engines by acquiring Sir Kensington's, famous for its vegan mayonnaise, in April and organic tea company Pukka in September", said Oh Lina, an analyst at eBest Securities.

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