Unilever buys Carver Korea

Dutch-Anglo FMCG giant Unilever has paid a cool US$2.7 billion on its latest investment in the beauty and skincare category, buying one of Asia’s fastest growing brands, Carver Korea.

The purchase comes after the recent acquisition of several other high-end cosmetics and skincare companies globally, including Murad, Dermalogica, REN and Kate Somerville.

Carver is the fastest growing skincare business in South Korea and provides Unilever with a foothold in the world’s largest growing skincare market, trading primarily through the company’s flagship brand, AHC.

The deal is the next step in Unilever’s move to pivot away from slower-growth food categories, on which the company’s earnings have traditionally relied.

AHC specialises in age management products, including essences, toners, moisturisers, masks and sun protection.

“We are delighted to be acquiring Carver Korea. It is an impressive business that is completely aligned to our Personal Care strategy,” Unilever personal care president Alan Jope said.

“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.

“AHC has been strongly gaining popularity thanks to its efficacious, innovative and premium products; and it therefore offers great opportunities for growth,” he continued.

Carver’s current owners are Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs, who have invested in the business little more than a year. According to Unilever, Carver reported $380 million in sales and $162 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation last year.

Market research house Euromonitor International pegged Unilever as the third largest beauty and personal care manufacturers in the world and the second largest in Asia Pacific before the acquisition.

“South Korean beauty companies are a good target for global beauty giants, as Korean beauty brands are in huge demand in China and other Asian countries, but have also more recently made headway into markets further afield such as the UK and US,” Euromonitor’s head of luxury research, Fflur Roberts said.

“Global companies aim to take advantage of this trend to capture China and emerging markets by investing in Korean beauty product manufacturers.”

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site Inside FMCG.

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