Anne Martin-Vachon

Perfume Holdings, a subsidiary of Milan-based investment group Investindustrial, has acquired 72 percent of Selective Beauty, the French manufacturing and...

MILAN — Perfume Holdings, a subsidiary of Milan-based investment group Investindustrial, has acquired 72 percent of Selective Beauty, the French manufacturing and distribution company, for an undisclosed sum.

This story first appeared in the May 7, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The news follows a WWD report on April 3 that a new investor was set to take a stake in Selective Beauty to replace English private equity firm 3i.

Perfume Holdings acquired 46 percent of Selective Beauty from 3i, and the remainder was purchased from existing management and other financial investors.

CB Holding, a firm controlled by Corrado Brondi, Selective Beauty’s chairman and one of the company’s founders will keep the remaining 28 percent stake in Selective.

The deal, which was officially signed last month, is expected to be completed in mid-June, and, according to industry sources, Selective Beauty’s other co-founder, Christophe Cervasel, is expected to leave the company by the end of the month.

Selective Beauty’s majority stake is the latest acquisition for Investindustrial’s growing beauty portfolio, which includes Morris Profumi SpA and Atkinsons, both purchased by the firm last year.

In an interview with WWD, Brondi said the sale would enable Selective Beauty to pursue future strategies. “It’s not only a matter of change of ownership,” explained Brondi. “Investindustrial has specific knowledge of the industry and through Morris they own a factory that produces fragrances which has spare capacity. One of Selective Beauty’s key weaknesses today is the supply chain. We started initially as a distributor so we will collaborate with them closely on supply chain problems,” said Brondi.

Brondi said Investindustrial and his firm, CB Holding, would soon inject a substantial amount of funding into Selective Beauty. The undisclosed sum, added Brondi, will help Selective Beauty strengthen its core brands and allow it to discontinue working with other perfume brands it distributes in one or two countries. Brondi refused to name the brands the firm planned to cut from its portfolio.

“Our aim is to have a limited number of partner brands that we have both the license and distribution for. We will lose sales initially by cutting back our brand numbers but we feel we’ll gain it back by honing our core brands,” said Brondi.

Selective Beauty, which generates annual sales of about 180 million euros, or $279.3 million at current exchange, holds beauty licenses for brands including John Galliano, MaxMara and Trussardi, and distributes brands such as Bulgari, Burberry and Agent Provocateur.

Founded in 2000, the Paris-based company’s turnover doubled from 2005 to 2007.

“This is another reason why we need more financial resources,” said Brondi. “We have grown very big quickly and we want to continue to grow double digits on our relevant brands.”

Together with Investindustrial, Brondi said he hoped to grow Selective Beauty into a company with a turnover exceeding 200 million euros, or $310.6 million, in four to five years.

— Stephanie Epiro

Beiersdorf Consumer Division Net Gains

BERLIN — Beiersdorf AG reported that first-quarter earnings before interest and taxes for its consumer division, which includes Nivea, La Prairie, Juvena, Labello, Florena, Eucerin and other brands, as well as Curad and Curitas plasters, reached 171 million euros, or $256.1 million at average exchange, a gain of 13.2 percent over the previous year.

Consumer division sales grew by 10.7 percent, or 13.9 percent on a currency adjusted basis, to 1.29 billion euros, or $1.95 billion.

Organically, the division grew 9.7 percent. This excludes the 2007 acquisition of the C-Bons Hair Care Group in China and the 50 percent share increase Beiersdorf took in its Swiss affiliate, where Beiersdorf now holds a 100 percent stake.

Beiersdorf said global Nivea sales rose 12.4 percent in the quarter, motored by strong sales of Nivea deodorant, Nivea for Men, Nivea Body, Nivea Bath and the relaunch of Nivea Hair Care. La Prairie sales were up and Eucerin grew by 5 percent.

Currency adjusted group sales rose 12.9 percent to 1.52 billion euros, or $2.28 billion, with EBIT up 14.5 percent to 197 million euros, or $295.1 million.

— Melissa Drier

Martin-Vachon Joins Lise Watier

Anne Martin-Vachon, former chief marketing officer of the Bath & Body Works Division of Limited Brands Inc., has joined Montreal-based Lise Watier Cosmétiques Inc. as president and chief executive officer.

She will succeed the company’s founder, Lise Watier, and her husband, Serge Rocheleau, who will remain on the board as co-chairs and significant shareholders.

Watier founded the prestige market cosmetics, skin care and fragrance company 36 years ago and she will continue to consult on product and brand equity development, according to Martin-Vachon, who spoke during a telephone interview. Watier will remain a spokeswoman for the company. Imperial Capital Corp. made a sizable equity investment in Watier in March 2007.

Martin-Vachon, a French-Canadian citizen from Trois-Rivières, Quebec, said she plans to relocate from Columbus, Ohio, to Montreal and assume her duties in mid-August. It will mark a homecoming after two decades of living in the U.S. Martin spent much of her 23-year career at Procter & Gamble Co., where she held a number of positions in U.S. and international markets, including vice president of Total Beauty Marketing and vice president of Global Cosmetics Marketing.

— Pete Born

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