Clearwater advises Migros subsidiary on UK personal care products acquisition


  • Mibelle AG acquires Bradford-based Hallam Beauty
  • Swiss company targets UK retail market with latest acquisition
  • Third cross-border transaction for Clearwater Corporate Finance in six months  

Clearwater has advised personal care product ingredients and private label cosmetics manufacturer, Mibelle AG, on its cross-border acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in Bradford-based personal care products producer, Hallam Beauty Limited. The deal value was undisclosed.

Mibelle, a subsidiary of €14.5bn Swiss conglomerate, Migros, is one of Europe’s foremost personal care companies and has acquired the £37m turnover business to further build its presence in the UK. Hallam, itself a subsidiary of Sheffield-based GRI Group, is one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in the country and supplies its white-label hair, skin, sun and babycare products to a number of leading UK supermarket chains.

Hallam, which also formulates and manufactures products for private label hair and bodycare brands in the UK, including L’Oreal and Toni & Guy, has enjoyed strong organic growth since it was bought out of administration by GRI Group in 2005.

Working together with Swiss firm Kurmann Partners, Clearwater analysed the UK cosmetic products market to identify potential acquisition targets for Mibelle. Clearwater originated the deal and facilitated Mibelle’s introduction to the vendor, GRI Group.

Philip Nuttall, partner at Clearwater, said: “Having liaised with our colleagues in Switzerland, we agreed that cross-border collaboration was necessary to achieve the best outcome for the client. With our strong knowledge of the UK market and long-established network within the chemicals sector, we introduced Mibelle to the vendor and assisted the buyer throughout the deal process.

“Hallam fits the bill for Mibelle. As well as excellent growth prospects, the business has a loyal stable of suppliers and already provides its white label products to some of the UK’s leading retailers. The deal represents a key acquisition in Mibelle’s global expansion plans and a major step in Hallam’s progression, taking into account the increased resources and opportunities its new parent, Migros, can provide.”

Constantine Biller, senior chemicals and industrials analyst at Clearwater, commented: “During the downturn, a flight to value has seen consumers focus on budget and own-label products, attracting shoppers to the larger supermarket chains. In turn, chemicals manufacturers are increasingly looking to influence these lucrative product markets by building closer ties with supermarkets and value retailers.”

Mibelle’s acquisition of Hallam is the third cross-border advisory role for Clearwater in the last six months.

Andy Moore, partner at Clearwater, concluded: “In order to identify the best acquisition targets for multi-national companies, cross-border collaboration between buy-side advisers is essential. Throughout 2010, we expect to see an increasing volume of cross border deal activity. We will continue to work closely with our international offices to advise our clients in the UK and overseas on cross-border deals – utilising local market knowledge to engage with companies and overcome the barriers to completing deals.”