Unilever seals $2.7bn deal for South Korean skin care company

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

Alan Jope, Unilever president of personal care, said: "We are delighted to be acquiring Carver Korea". Carver ranks as the third-largest cosmetics company in South Korea, following AmorePacific and LG Household & Healthcare.

Buying Carver will help Unilever gain ground in the Korean beauty market, where hair and beauty trends often influence ones further west, the Journal noted.

Bain and Goldman Sachs had jointly bought around 60 per cent stake in Carver Korea a year ago for around $500 million.

"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.

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Founded in 1999, Carver, which produces moisturisers, face masks and sun creams, was bought by Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital past year, when it reported revenues of €321m, nearly three times as high as in the previous 12 months.

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. The company's main brand is AHC, and it also sell whitening products. Unilever had posted steady growth in China since entering the market in 1986, but sales there saw a deep plunge in the second half of previous year. Its operating profit jumped to 180 billion won, from 48.3 billion won, during the same period.

South Korea is the world's fourth largest market for skin care, according to Unilever.

Analysts say the purchase will boost Unilever's position in China where Carver has a strong presence.

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