Kanebo well positioned for sell-off following strong results

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics

Leading Japanese cosmetic producer has posted stronger than
expected nine month results, putting it in a better position as it
gears up for a final tender in early December.

Western interest in the bidding process is now over, as both L'Oreal and P&G have both dropped out of the game, narrowing the bidding process to an all-Japanese affair.

But with Kanebo revealing that its sales exceeded rehabilitation targets by 8 per cent during its first half to September, the stakes could be raised further as a handful of companies tackle the final hurdles in a what has become a drawn-out process.

Japan's second largest cosmetic producer recorded sales of ¥155.5 billion (€1.12bn), backed up by operational profits that exceeded expectations by 23.8 per cent to reach ¥13.7 billion, according to Japanese news service provider Kyodo.

The bidding is being overseen by The Industrial Revitalisation Corporation (IRC), the government bailout body which has been managing the operation of the company since it went into receivership following an accounting scandal that became public knowledge two years ago.

The IRC has said that it will not give out any information about the bidding process until the process is finalised at the end of the year and all the companies involved have refused to make any comment.

The IRC has valued Kanebo at around ¥400 billion, the price offered by Kao for the cosmetics division last year. But press reports have speculated that the minimum purchase price for Kanebo will be higher, around ¥430 billion.

Most of the interest has centered on Kanebo's profitable cosmetics division, and analysts believe there is a strong possibility the household business operations will be sold off after the company has been bought.

Currently the bidding for Kanebo is believed to have been narrowed down to Japanese leading personal care players Kao and Kose.

Shiseido has never officially backed out of the bidding process but is now thought not to a serious contendor. Last week the cosmetics player announced that its first half profits had doubled on the back of the successful launch of two new mega-brand cosmetic products.

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