HOECHST AG COSMETICS UNITS: MAY REORGANIZE OR DIVEST
Byline: Sarah Raper
PARIS — Hoechst AG, the giant German chemicals and man-made fibers producer, said Monday that it had begun talks with outside advisers about the possible divestiture or reorganization of its cosmetics division, including the German hair care brand Hans Schwarzkopf GmbH and the fragrance and cosmetics brands Marbert and Jade.
“We’re asking the investment bank to discuss with us the future organization of these cosmetics activities,” said Heiner Harder, a spokesman for the Frankfurt-based company. The talks with English merchant bank Morgen Grenfell Group PLC started last week.
“Up to now, there are no results to announce. We have just started,” Harder said, noting that the talks could take “weeks or months.” He added that all possibilities, from a sale of one or more brands to a joint venture or reorganization within Hoechst, were under consideration.
However, he declined to comment on potential buyers named in the German financial press. They included Shiseido, Procter & Gamble, KAO Corp., Henkel, Wella and L’Oréal.
Cosmetics are just a sideline activity at Hoechst, which had sales of $30.7 billion (46 billion marks) in 1993, the latest available figures.
The largest-volume component is Schwarzkopf, which had 1993 sales of $666.7 million (1 billion marks). Hoechst owns 77 percent of Schwarzkopf. Last year, Schwarzkopf closed a factory in Berlin and eliminated its Italian subsidiary in cost-cutting moves.
Hoechst owns 100 percent of Marbert, with 1993 sales of $80 million (120 million marks). Jade, with 1993 sales of $147.7 million (220 million marks), is owned by Cassella AG, of which Hoechst holds 75 percent.