Continuing to shed noncore brands, Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to sell its Camay and Zest soap businesses to Unilever for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction involves the global sale of the Camay brand, the sale of Zest outside of North America and the Caribbean and the sale of the Talisman bar soap manufacturing facility in Mexico. The 170 associates at the plant will transfer to Unilever employment upon consummation of the deal, expected during the first half of 2015 subject to standard regulatory approvals.

Unilever said the Camay and Zest brands together had global sales last year of about $225 million, with 75 percent generated by Mexico, Russia and Egypt. About 95 percent of Zest’s business is in Mexico and about 60 percent of Camay’s is spread among Mexico, Russia and Egypt.

Alan Jope, president of Unilever personal care, said the two brands “represent an excellent strategic fit for us and will further strengthen our global position in skin cleansing. The brands will benefit from our innovation and R&D capabilities. They will make us one of the market leaders in skin cleansing in Mexico, a priority for Unilever and one of the largest markets in the world.”

P&G said in August that it would cut its portfolio of about 160 brands by half or more. “We are going to create a faster-growing, more profitable company that is far easier to operate,” A.G. Lafley, chairman, president and chief executive officer of P&G, said earlier of the streamlining efforts.

P&G last month sold the Duracell battery business to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Reuters reported in November that the Wella hair-care business also is in play. P&G purchased it in 2003 for $4.9 billion.

 

In the first quarter ended Sept. 30, P&G’s beauty, hair and personal care businesses declined 1 percent to $4.86 billion, 23.4 percent of its corporate total of $20.79 billion.

P&G previously completed its plans to exit the pet care business through sales to Mars Inc., in the Americas, and Spectrum Brands, in Europe. Both transactions are expected to close next year.

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