Unilever, London, UK, is looking to sell its Cosmetics International unit, which includes Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, Nautica and Vera Wang fragrances. Unilever hopes to raise up to $750 million with the transaction, according to industry experts.
The company is mid-way through a five-year program to reduce the number of its brands from 400 to 800 in order to boost sales growth and profit margins, company executives said. Investment bank Morgan Stanley has been hired to sell the unit. Unilever’s “path to growth” strategy is aimed at increasing underlying annual sales growth to 5-6% and profit margin to more than 16% by 2004. The company has cut jobs, closed factories and eliminated brands as part of the program.