Wipro’s consumer arm acquires Chinese FMCG firm

Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (WCCL), part of billionaire Azim Premji-led Wipro Group, has acquired Chinese fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company Zhongshan Ma Er Daily Products Ltd, in an all-cash deal.

The acquisition was made through Wipro Unza, the South East Asian arm of Wipro’s now-separated consumer business, as per a statement.

The firm expects the deal to help it leapfrog into a leading position in South China’s personal care market besides adding critical brands to the portfolio of WCCL.

“This transaction propels us to a strong number three position in the bath and shower market in Southern China, and strengthens our fabric care business,” said Vineet Agrawal, CEO of Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting.

BNP Paribas acted as financial adviser to Zhongshan Ma Er for the deal.

Zhongshan Ma Er has a strong footprint in China and Hong Kong and its brand portfolio includes leading personal care brands Enear, Zici and Vcnic, comprising bath & shower products, and fabric care brands Pahnli and Sunew.

Wipro Unza has a formidable presence in the Chinese market with brands such as Enchanteur and Romano. The firm enjoys market leading positions in the personal wash and deodorant categories in Guangdong and Hainan provinces.

The Chinese unit of the Wipro Consumer Care claims to have touched an annual run rate of close to RMB 1 billon or more than Rs 1,000 crore ($150 million).  Wipro Consumer Care’s international businesses contribute 55% to its annual global sales.

Wipro Consumer Care has done a string of overseas acquisitions in the past. It started with acquiring Glucovita, a glucose brand, from Hindustan Unilever Ltd in 2003. Later on, it added to its portfolio names such as Chandrika (2004), Unza (2007), Yardley - Middle East, North Africa and Australasia (2009), Yardley UK (2012), and L.D. Waxsons Group (2012).

Wipro Consumer Care’s rival Godrej Consumer Products Ltd has also struck several acquisitions in recent years. Godrej Consumer has struck three acquisitions this year to boost its Africa operations.

In July, another consumer products maker Dabur India Ltd acquired South African cosmetics manufacturing and trading firm Discaria in its first takeover deal on the continent.

Emami and Future Consumer Enterprise Ltd are among the other FMCG companies that have signed M&A deals in the past year. Consumer goods firm Marico is also gearing up to revive its M&A play, as hinted by Pankaj Saluja, chief of strategy, M&A and new business, for the company.

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