ROCHER TO BUY STANHOME UNIT

PARIS — Groupe Yves Rocher, a French cosmetics manufacturer and retailer with global sales of $1.2 billion, has signed an agreement to purchase for $68 million the Stanhome Worldwide Direct Selling Group, an international personal care and cosmetic products division of Stanhome Inc. of Westfield, Mass.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Rocher said the acquisition should significantly boost development of its direct sales business.
Stanhome Group, which markets products under the Stanhome brand name in South America, Latin America and Europe, had sales of $225 million last year.
With the acquisition, Rocher, a worldwide leader in mail-order cosmetics and operator of franchised boutiques, “would become one of the world’s foremost players in direct sales,” according to the company, which noted it now ranks third in the channel of distribution.
Stanhome says it has a selling base of 15 million customers and a sales force of 60,000. Stanhome doesn’t do business directly in the U.S. because it licensed the American operation to the CPAC Co. of Leicester, N.Y., in 1995.
Stanhome markets several skin care and beauty care products, but its best-selling items are Aquilaun, a detergent for fine washables, and Degreaser, a dishwashing liquid, said Thomas Evangelista, vice president of corporate development and communications.

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