NEW YORK — Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., through its A.S. Watson subsidiary, has made an offer to acquire the Kruidvat Group, Europe’s leading health and beauty retailer, for $1.2 billion.
This story first appeared in the August 23, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
All figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.
The acquisition would make Hutchison’s A.S. Watson one of the world’s largest retailers of HBA products. Combined sales of the two operations would exceed $6.7 billion this year. Kruidvat operates 1,900 stores in six European countries and employs some 24,000 people. A.S. Watson currently has 930 personal-care stores throughout the U.K. and Asia.
Under the deal, Hutchison would acquire Superdrug in the U.K., Kruidvat and Trekpleister in the Netherlands, Kruidvat in Belgium and a 50 percent interest in Rossmann in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as the ICI Paris XL perfumeries in the Netherlands and Belgium.
“Kruidvat Group was chosen for its exceptional reputation and market-leader position,” said Canning Fok, Hutchison’s group managing director, in a statement. “It is an excellent fit for our expanding retail business, giving us a more diversified portfolio and better geographical balance. The acquisition also provides us with many opportunities for synergies across Europe and Asia.”
Dick van Hedel, chief executive officer of Kruidvat Group said in the statement, “the experience and global strength of HWL will help us achieve new heights.”
The deal is awaiting approval from European Union regulatory authorities.
The bid for Kruidvat is the latest European expansion move for Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate, which bought the U.K.-based retail chain Savers in 2000.
With 120,000 employees in 37 countries, Hutchison operates in five core businesses — ports and related services, telecommunications, property and hotels, energy and infrastructure and retail and manufacturing. Its A.S. Watson subsidiary, in all, operates 1,300 retail stores and owns more than 20 water and juice brands, employing some 27,000 people worldwide. A.S. Watson’s 930 personal-care stores include 280 Savers stores in the U.K. and 650 Watsons Your Personal Store in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.