Unilever agrees to sell North American Laundry Business
Unilever today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its North American laundry business in US, Canada and Puerto Rico to Vestar Capital Partners.
Vestar Capital Partners (Vestar) is a leading global private equity firm. Vestar will merge the business with its existing operation, Huish Detergents Inc., to form a new company, The Sun Products Corporation (Sun Products).
The consideration consists of a cash payment of $1.075 billion, together with preferred shares in The Sun Products Corporation with a face value of $375 million, and warrants offering the opportunity to acquire up to 2.5% of the common equity of The Sun Products Corporation.
The businesses to be sold include the all®, Snuggle®, Wisk®, Surf®, and Sunlight® fabric cleaning and fabric conditioning brands in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as Unilever’s manufacturing facility in Baltimore, MD, USA.
Patrick Cescau, Unilever’s Group Chief Executive, said: “We have reached a good deal for both Unilever shareholders and the business. It puts our North American laundry people and brands into a company which is focused on the laundry category and which, with its new combined portfolio, is well-positioned to become a strong player in their market.
“Laundry remains an important category for Unilever outside North America. This transaction will allow us to focus our resources on our leading positions in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America where we continue to drive for expanded leadership.”
Both Unilever and Vestar will seek to ensure a seamless transition of the business for retail customers throughout US, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The US, Canada and Puerto Rico laundry business generated $1.0 billion in turnover for Unilever in 2007.
The sale is part of Unilever’s previously announced plans to dispose of non-strategic brands with collectively more than €2 billion in turnover.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in 2008.
For further information, please contact:
Unilever Investor Relations
Unilever London: +44 207 822 6830
Vestar Capital Partners and Huish Detergents:
Owen Blicksilver Public Relations:
Carol Makovich +1 203 622 478
Kristin Celauro +1 732 291 5456