Unilever buys Korean cosmetics firm for $2.7b

Indeed, "in 2016, personal care made up 40% of Unilever's revenue, up from 28% in 2008, writes Saabira Chaudhuri of the Wall Street Journal".

Unilever announced in a statement today that it had agreed to acquire skincare business Carver Korea for €2.27 billion, from Bain Capital Private Equity and Goldman Sachs.

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

Carver sells age-management, skin-hydration and skin-nourishment products under the brand AHC.

"It is an impressive business that is completely aligned to our personal care strategy", Alan Jope, the president of Unilever's personal care business, said of Carver.

Some argue that a company like Carver is safe from a backlash thanks to the popularity of its products in China, while others take the view that there is a serious threat and that South East Asia is a better bet for expansion.

"They help preserve our market position in attractive segments where we can bring our global scale and local strengths to bear", the company said in its most recent annual report.

Unilever paid €2.27bn for its stake in Carver, a fast-growing skincare business which reported a threefold increase in revenues past year to €321m. The brand will also complement Unilever's existing portfolio, enabling it to provide consumers with luxury skincare products at affordable prices. "The value of South Korea's beauty market will reach about $13 billion this year, according to market researcher Mintel".

That would have valued the whole company at $833 million, less than a third of what Unilever is paying, but Carver's net profit almost quadrupled a year ago to $117 million, from $32 million in 2015, public filings show. "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.

  • Eleanor Harrison