Colgate to buy Unilever’s Sanex brand for about $940 mn

Colgate to buy Unilever’s Sanex brand for about $940 mn

London: US consumer goods group Colgate-Palmolive has agreed to pay around $940 million for Sanex, a shower gel and deodorant brand which owner Unilever had been ordered to sell.

The European Commission asked Unilever to divest Sanex for anti-trust reasons after the Anglo-Dutch company acquired it when buying US group Sara Lee’s personal care business in 2009.

Sanex had sales of $265 million in 2010, largely in Western Europe.

Also on Wednesday, Unilever agreed to buy Colgate’s laundry detergent brands in Colombia, such as Fab, Lavomatic and Vel, for $215 million. Colgate said the deals were expected to add, on a combined basis, about 4% to earnings in 2011.

Colgate chairman and chief executive Ian Cook said: “Sanex is a very strong brand that we have admired for a long time".

The transactions are part of Colgate’s strategy to focus on its high-margin, strategically important oral care, personal care and pet nutrition businesses, Cook said.

The deals come less than a year after Cook said Colgate was eyeing acquisitions in oral care, pet nutrition and personal care businesses.

Citigroup Global Markets acted as financial adviser to Colgate-Palmolive on both the transactions.

Unilever Plc shares were up 1% at 1,828 pence at 5.10 pm in a slightly firmer London stock market