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Natura Acquires Majority Stake in Australian Skin Care Company

Fernanda Bonifacio

Demonstrating a more global strategy, Brazilian beauty company Natura Cosméticos agreed to buy a 65% stake in Emeis Holdings, owner of Australian luxury beauty brand Aesop, in early January 2013. The AUD $68 million acquisition should be finalized on April 30, 2013, and upon closing, Natura and Aesop will continue to operate as independent companies but will share regional expertise, which could lead to Aesop potentially entering the Brazilian market and Natura expanding internationally.

Emeis operates under the Aesop brand name throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, and its annual revenue is estimated at AUD $68 million. The Aesop brand has more than 60 stores in 11 countries, while Natura has operations in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and France.

Going forward, Aesop will continue to be run by its CEO Michael O’Keeffe and will remain headquartered in Melbourne. However, Natura’s investment will support Aesop’s current management team in its efforts to accelerate the expansion of the brand to new markets. And following the close of the transaction, Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis will remain involved with the company as a creative consultant.

According to Natura’s CEO, Alessandro Carlucci, the investment in Aesop is consistent with the company’s long-term strategy of aligning with world-class brands. And Aesop’s O’Keeffe says, “We are excited to partner with Natura, a company with similar brand attributes and a culture dedicated to improving the lives of its people and the communities where it operates. This is a perfect fit with tremendous potential.”

L’Oréal Expands Research on Brazilian Flora

Natural raw materials from the Amazon rain forest have started to gain headway in the laboratories of L’Oréal’s Brazilian subsidiary, leading to further research on their value and potential uses for beauty and personal care products. L’Oréal currently uses oils and fibers of cupuaçu, babaçu, açai and pracaxi in its products, and has started studies on the cosmetic properties of the ingredient sugarcane bagasse.

According to L’Oréal scientific communication director Patricia Pinaud, the company plans to invest in the research of new cosmetic ingredients through its new research and innovation center, due to be inaugurated in mid-2014 and located on Bom Jesus Island in Rio de Janeiro. “Brazil has abundant natural resources and a wide range of ingredients that can be used to manufacture both prestige and mass market products,” she said.

The latest data show that L’Oréal invests more than €700 million annually in research and innovation, with more than 600 patents registered and 3,700 experts working in research centers in France, the U.S., India, China and Japan. The new R&I facility in Rio will focus on hair care products, as the segment accounts for about half of L’Oréal’s revenue.

“Research undertaken in Brazil can be used in several countries,” noted Pinaud. “We are currently searching for species that are more resistant to the sun to be used as natural ingredients in Brazil, India and Asian countries, where the skin and hair are more exposed to heat and direct sunlight.”

O Boticário Launches Multi-brand Retail Chain

Multi-brand retail chain The Beauty Box is O Boticário’s latest undertaking in the Brazilian beauty market, with more than 60 carefully selected local and international brands for sale on its shelves, including Shiseido, Dior, Artdeco, OPI and Lancôme. Experts say O Boticário’s new strategy is set to compete with Sephora for a share of the beauty retail market by offering a wide range of beauty brands newly launched under one roof in Brazil.

“O Boticário has taken a new step in establishing itself as a major player in Brazil’s beauty scene with a new business model,” said O Boticário president Artur Grynbaum  of the launch. “The Beauty Box caters to the needs of an increasingly demanding and socially aware consumer market that is always up to date with the latest trends.”

To help meet these demands, The Beauty Box finished 2012 with six stores open in the state of São Paulo, and is expected to start its e-commerce operations in the first part of 2013, at which time about 7,000 different products will be available online through the chain’s website.

Brazilian Consumers Point Out Difficulties in Finding Beauty Products

Despite being among the world’s top beauty markets, research conducted by retail marketing association POPAI Brasil found the Brazilian beauty market still needs to undergo adjustments in its distribution strategies. The study indicates both Brazilian consumers and beauty professionals find it hard to locate beauty and cosmetic products on shelves locally and also calls attention to the importance of having a diversified distribution channel strategy for customer acquisition.

Additionally, 36% of respondents to a survey by POPAI Brasil reported difficulty in finding body lotions, while 30% complained of a lack of hair care products and 26% had a difficult time finding skin care products.

POPAI Brasil president Romano Pansera attributes this situation to flaws in brand owner’s commercial strategies, which do not explore new and alternative distribution channels.

Among the three points of sale addressed in the study: 46% of consumers buy their beauty products in perfumeries and specialized stores, 26% in compounding pharmacies and 28% in drugstores.

New CEOs for P&G; Beiersdorf’s Nivea

Set to lead P&G Brasil, Proctor & Gamble appointed Alberto Carvalho as the new president of its Brazilian operations. Carvalho was previously a vice president for Gillette Global operations, and he replaces Tarek Farahat as the first Brazilian national to run P&G Brasil. Before working with Gillette Global, Carvalho ran P&G in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Farahat is stepping up as president of P&G Latin America.

Beiersdorf’s Nivea Brazilian operations also experienced a leadership change, now under the direction of Christian Goetz. He joined the group in 1995, and has been Beiersdorf’s president in Argentina and Uruguay, as well as having headed the company’s Russian subsidiary. And Basque Ricardo has returned to his position as CFO for Beiersdorf Nivea in Brazil.

Latin America Boosts Symrise Sales

Emerging markets were responsible for 48% of Symrise sales from January to September 2012, and Latin America provided Symrise’s strongest growth in the period, with a 20% increase in sales. In August 2012, the company also inaugurated its new R&I center in São Paulo, aiming to strengthen and foster the development of products tailored specifically to the Latin American market.

“The economies of Latin American countries are growing at a rapid pace, as well as the demand for luxury goods and consumer products,” said Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO, Symrise AG. “We believe that Latin America will continue to be one of our fastest-growing regions.” The new 8,000-square meter complex was designed and built with sustainable practices in mind.

Fernanda Bonifacio is a Brazilian journalist who focuses on the beauty industry, and has been published in the U.S. and Europe. She represented ABIHPEC and its member companies globally from 2002–2008. She has also been a communications consultant for raw material manufacturer Beraca since 2009.

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