Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever has offered INR292.2bn (€4.1bn) in a bid to raise stake in its Indian arm Hindustan Unilever (HUL) to upto 75%.
The company currently owns 52.48% interest in HUL and is keen to acquire additional 22.52% interest through the purchase of 487,004,772 shares at a price of INR600 ($11.1) per share.
Commenting on the offer, Unilever CEO Paul Polman remarked that the acquisition offer is part of company’s strategy to invest in potential markets.
“The long heritage and great brands of Hindustan Unilever, and the significant growth potential of a country with 1.3 billion people makes India a strategic long term priority for the business,” he noted.
Unilever investor relations and M&A head James Allison told Indian media agency CNBC TV 18 that the company is not likely to increase the offer.
“We will hold talks with institutional shareholders in India next week … at the end, if we don’t get all the 22 percent, so be it,” revealed Allison.
The offer period is expected to begin in June 2013 after securing approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Following the acquisition, Unilever cannot increase its stake in the company as Indian regulation mandates 25% public shareholding
or a company to maintain a public listing in the country.
HUL offers fast moving consumer goods under different brands across categories such as soaps, detergents, shampoos, skin care,
toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, tea, coffee, packaged foods, ice cream, and water purifiers.
The company grossed nearly INR270bn (€3.8bn) turnover and net profit of over INR38bn (€0.5bn) for the financial year ended 31 March 2013.