Wipro to buy Singapore consumer firm for $246 mn


Bangalore : India's Wipro group announced Friday its consumer care and lighting division was acquiring Singapore-based personal care products firm Unza Holdings Ltd for $246 million in an all-cash deal.

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According to a company statement here, the 100 percent takeover process will be completed by month-end. The deal will make the combined entity a force to reckon with across Asian markets in the personal care segment.

"The acquisition will double our addressable market size in terms of GDP. Unza has an excellent product range and a large portfolio of strong brands catering to Asian consumers," Wipro consumer care president Vineet Agrawal said.

"It is significant because it gives us a large presence in South East Asia and gives us a wide access to large number of products in the personal care space," Agrawal told reporters here.

The Wipro group, which is India's third-largest software exporte, will buy 58 percent stake from Standard Chartered Bank and private equity investor Actis. The remaining equity will be acquired from the staff of Unza.

As the leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm in Southeast Asia catering to millions of Asian consumers, Unza posted Rs.6.83 billion ($165 million) in sales with a double-digit operating margin during 2006-07.

The top-line growth was 14 percent year-on-year in dollar terms.

With operations in over 40 countries and manufacturing units in Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Indonesia, Unza markets a range of personal care brands like Safi, Enchanteur, Romano and Izzi, and two top detergent brands, Vigor and Maxkleen.

Unza Managing Director Gavin D. Welman said that being part of Wipro would give the company access to resources to fuel further growth and unlock the potential of Unza's popular brands.

"Wipro's focus on quality initiatives, consumer research and processes will help Unza scale newer heights. We are excited by the prospect of working together and creating an even stronger position across Asian markets," Welman said.

Wipro's consumer care and lighting business, which has in its stable brands such as Santoor, Chandrika and Glucovita, reported revenues of Rs.8.18 billion (some $200 million) in 2007-07, clocking growth of 36 percent growth.