Korean cosmetics firm for US$2.7 bln

Korean cosmetics firm for US$2.7 bln

The purchase from Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital and Carver's founder follows a string of smaller skincare and cosmetics deals as the Anglo-Dutch pivots away from slower-growth food.

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

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

Carver Korea has shown sharp growth over the last five years, becoming the fastest growing skincare business in South Korea. Previous year it embarked on a restructuring aimed at making its local units more responsive to trends in their markets and is employing its own social-media influencers while also buying local brands.

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

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 past year. In 2016, Carver delivered sales of EUR321 million, along with EUR137 million in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

South Korea alone is the fourth-largest skincare market in the world, with beauty products based on natural ingredients such snail gel, volcanic ash and green tea developing into a staple of the country's cosmetic market. It has since raised its margin target, announced a share buyback and a plan to sell its shrinking margarine and spreads business.

To that end, it has bought a string of higher-end cosmetics and skincare companies including Murad, Dermalogica, REN and Kate Somerville.

Carver Korea, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs were not available for immediate comment.