PARIS — Unilever has taken a stake in Ioma, a French skin-care brand that uses diagnostic machines to recommend treatments.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected Unilever will become Ioma’s principle shareholder in the medium term.
Ioma said the Unilever partnership would accelerate its international growth and that it would benefit from Unilever’s research and development. The management of Ioma’s commercial operations is to remain autonomous.
Unilever’s stake in Ioma gives the Anglo-Dutch beauty giant a foothold in the prestige beauty market and also the burgeoning beauty device category. Unilever’s beauty brand portfolio includes Dove, TRESemmé, Ponds, Tigi and Simple.
Ioma, created in 2010 by Jean-Michel Karam, is sold in 1,000 sales points in 10 countries through distribution channels including perfumeries, department and specialty stores plus pharmacies and parapharmacies.
The company’s upcoming expansion plans include Indonesia, the travel-retail channel and Switzerland – through 25 Marionnaud perfumeries — Hong Kong and India — with a freestanding shop.
Karam is said to be scouting locations in New York to open a freestanding store there in 2014.
Business for Ioma, whose name is the reverse of the French “à moi” (“for me”), is estimated by industry sources to be approaching $10 million at retail in its home market this year.