Unilever Sells North American Oral Care Portfolio

12 September 2003

Unilever is disposing of its North American oral care products in the latest stage of its non-core brand sell-off.

The Anglo-Dutch colossus is offloading Pepsodent, Aim, Mentadent and Close-Up in the US and Canada to personal care group Church & Dwight. Both firms expect the deal – worth $104 million (€92.7m; £65.2m) plus up to $12m in performance-related bonuses – to close in the fourth quarter.

The North American brands generated revenues of $61m in the first half, a drop in the ocean against Unilever’s billion-dollar global income from personal care. With sales falling, they remain relatively minor players in the US market compared with category leaders Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive.

Church & Dwight, headquartered in New Jersey, owns Arm & Hammer and Pearl Drops toothpastes plus Rigident denture adhesive. The Unilever acquisitions will triple its unit sales in the oral care market.

“Although this business has recently been in decline,” declared chairman/ceo Robert Davies III, “we believe the brand equities remain strong, and the business can be revitalized through additional focus and support.”

Unilever will retain its oral care brands in the rest of the world.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff