Battle for Kanebo narrowed down to three players

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Investment, Kanebo

The battle for Japaneseconsumer giant Kanebo and its cosmetics
division has been narrowed down to three players that include
Japanese personal care giant Kao, and investment groups that
include European and US companies.

The final tender for the bidding was released by the Japanese Industrial Revitalization Corp (JIRC) at the end of last week, according to a Nikkei press report.

The Kao bid includes three investment funds, including European investment fund CVE Capital Partners, together with the two other bidders - Daiwa Securities SMBC Principal Investments and RHJ International, a US fund headed up by investment guru Timothy Collins.

Coinciding with the announcement, Nikko Principal Investment, which had teamed up with other Japanese cosmetics player Kose in the bidding for Kanebo, said that it had pulled out of the process because information provided by the JIRC had proved to be 'very poor', according to a report from the Financial Times.

The proposed bids are all said to be similar in both their reconstruction proposals and the amount of money that is being offered, which falls in the range of ¥450 - 500 billion.

It is expected that the IRJC may make its final decision, in what has proved to be a process that has taken well over two years to complete, as early as this week.

Although there has been controversy surrounding the bidding process and the way it has been managed, Kanebo was given a boost last month when it announced strong financial results.

Kanebo​ revealed that it 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 JIRC 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.

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