L’Occitane to Acquire Majority Stake in Erborian

L’Occitane announced the acquisition of a stake in the premium Korean skin care brand Erborian, which marks the company’s first acquisition of a brand after its listing in Hong Kong. L’Occitane entered into an agreement with Symbiose Cosmetics France S.A.S. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Symbiose Cosmetics Korea (the Erborian business) pursuant to which the company acquired a 50.14% interest in the Erborian business. L’Occitane expects to raise its shareholding in Symbiose Cosmetics France S.A.S. subsequently to approximately 63% after a capital increase reserved to the company with the remaining 37% will be jointly owned by Katalin Berenyi and Hojung Lee, its founders.

The Erborian brand is known for combining elements from different cultures, with a dual expertise that combines ancestral Korean medicinal science and high technology. Founded in 2006, Erborian has established its presence in more than 15 countries, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and is sold in major perfumeries and department stores. Its revenue is expected to be approximately €2.5 million for its current financial year ending Aug. 31, 2012.

L’Occitane is committed to developing and retailing high quality products that are rich in natural ingredients of traceable origins and respect for the environment. Hence, the acquisition fits in with the company’s strategy to build a leading portfolio of cosmetics brands based on natural ingredients and deeply rooted in their territory. Erborian highlights the Group’s first product range with its roots in Asia.

In addition, L’Occitane believes that the acquisition will provide it with the flexibility to expand current network channels and diversify product categories for the Erborian brand, and to globalize the Erborian business in partnership with its founders, who will be leading this expansion. L’Occitane is confident that the strategies to be implemented for the Erborian brand will help its future growth globally and will be complementary to it existing business strategy.

Of the acquisition, Berenyi and Lee commented, “We are pleased to embark on this partnership and journey with L’Occitane and see an excellent fit between the two groups in terms of our brand identity and business philosophy. We are confident that with L’Occitane’s strong global experience in managing premium brands and access to its global network, the Erborian brand is entering a new and exciting stage of development.”

Reinold Geiger, chairman and CEO of L’Occitane, noted, “This is an exciting time for us and marks the group’s first skin care product range with an Asian heritage. Whereas some recent transactions in our industry have been speculative, I believe this deal is complementary to our existing business of focusing in the natural ingredient-based cosmetics space and provides the group with a good opportunity to build upon our long term growth strategy with controlled investments. We look forward to this cooperation and partnership with the Erborian brand, so as to further expand and support our group’s future growth globally.”

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