"This acquisition is an outstanding opportunity to speed up our growth in the Chinese market. It is a major step forward in L'Oréal's development in a market which is strategically important for the group," said the chief executive of L'Oréal Lindsay Owen-Jones.
Launched in the Chinese market in 1992, Mininurse is expected to achieve sales in excess of €40 million in 2003. Aimed at young women with a natural style the skincare range is distributed through some 280,000 outlets across the whole country.
Certain conditions however must be met in China before completion of the transaction, subject to the approval of the Chinese authorities. If accepted the business will be consolidated during the first half of 2004.
The acquisition includes a manufacturing facility at Yichang in Hubei province. This factory will enable an increase in production capacities to keep pace with the growth of the group's brands.
L'Oréal has been operating on the Chinese market since 1997, and its sales amounted to €113 million in 2002. In China the group achieved 66 per cent growth in sales in local currency terms in the first 9 months of 2003, which is broadly in line with the 2002 figure.
The L'Oréal group has rolled out its core brands on this market, and holds several market leader positions; L'Oréal Paris in premium colourants, Maybelline in make-up, Vichy in products sold in pharmacies and Lancôme in selective distribution.