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VLCC buys 80% in Singapore-based cosmetics maker GVIG for Rs 180 crore

NEW DELHI: Wellness products and slimming services company VLCC said it has bought 80% stake in Singapore-based high-end personal care, dermatology products and cosmetics maker Global Vantage Innovative Group (GVig) in an effort to expand its global footprint. 

VLCC Group chairman Mukesh Luthrarefused comment on the size of the deal, two people aware of the development pegged the transaction between Rs 175 crore and Rs 180 crore. Luthra, however, said the acquisition was funded through internal accruals. VLCC plans to acquire the remaining 20% stake in GVig, held in the form of sweat equity by some individuals, by next year, Luthra said. 

He said his company is also working towards bringing skin, hair and body-care brands owned by the Singaporean firm, such as BelleWave and SkinMTX, to India by as early as next month. 

"This is a strategic buy-out, which gives us a basket of high-end cosmetics, specialised dermatology products and a significant upgrade to our research capabilities to leverage our business in India and South East Asia," Luthra said. 

The acquisition of 
GVig is entrepreneur Vandana Luthra-promoted VLCC's second overseas acquisition in less than a year. In November 2012, VLCC had acquired 80% stake in Malaysian slimming and beauty services chain Wyann International for over 100 crore. 

GVig is the holding company of the group that owns and operates through three subsidiaries across 
South Asia - BelleWave Cosmetics, Celblos Dermal Research Centre and Enavose Life Science Research. The group has revenues close to $60 million ( Rs 330 crore). 

The acquisition gives VLCC access to GVig's research and development laboratory and manufacturing facility in Singapore. VLCC has a factory each in Haridwar and Dehradun. 

BelleWave Cosmetics makes professional skincare products under the BelleWave and SkinMTX brands and has a presence across 10 countries. Celblos Dermal Research Centre has R&D collaborations with government bodies including Singapore 
Economic Development Board. The third brand, Enavose, retails Swiss-made skin- and body-care products. 

VLCC, which closed 2012-13 with a turnover of over Rs 700 crore, is targeting Rs 1,000 crore in two years. It operates through 300 locations across 121 cities in 16 countries. Its cosmetics and wellness products sell at over 80,000 retail outlets. 

The chain, valued at $350-400 million, is in talks with several 
private equity firms to fund its expansion plans. Everstone Capital, which owns a 15% stake in VLCC, will exit the firm entirely or partially. In 2004, CLSA had invested around $15 million in VLCC but later sold off its stake back to the promoters. Everstone had invested 60 crore for a 15% stake in VLCC in 2007. 

According to a report on the wellness industry released by PwC and Ficci last week, the Rs 70,000 crore wellness industry will touch Rs 100,000 crore by 2015, growing at 15-17%. 

Challenges to growth include high input costs, talent crunch, high manpower costs and attrition levels. The report, however, added that wellness has so far shown little signs of a downturn as consumer spends on such products and services continue to be resilient.