Coty Explores Sale of Professional Beauty Business

The possible sale would deleverage Coty’s balance sheet and “improve [its] ability to invest in areas with the greatest growth potential.”
Lauren MuskettOctober 21, 2019
Coty Explores Sale of Professional Beauty Business

Beauty company Coty announced that is exploring the sale of its professional beauty business­ as part of its ongoing turnaround plan. The company’s professional beauty business includes hair and nail care brands such as OPI, Clariol, and Wella.

The company also said it was exploring alternatives for its Brazilian operations, including a divesture, as it looks to focus more intently on its fragrance, cosmetics, and skin care businesses.

The company’s board appointed Credit Suisse to assist with the strategic review, which it said should be completed by summer 2020. Proceeds from any transaction would be used to pay down debt and return cash directly to shareholders, it said.

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The company’s majority owner, German conglomerate JAB Holdings, raised its stake in Coty to 60% earlier this year.

The professional beauty business unit and the Brazil unit generated about $2.7 billion in net revenue in fiscal 2019. Coty acquired about 40 beauty brands, including Covergirl and Max Factor, from Procter & Gamble in 2016 but it struggled to integrate them.

“After stabilizing our operations in fiscal 2019, we announced in early July a plan to turn around Coty’s performance,” chief executive officer Pierre Laubies said in a statement. “Today’s announcement accelerates this transformation and will help reposition Coty as a more focused and agile company, deleverage our balance sheet, and improve our ability to invest in areas with the greatest growth potential.”

The company said it expected to reduce its leverage to a pro forma target ratio of approximately 3x net debt to EBITDA, but there would be no change to its operating margin guidance of between 14% and 16% by fiscal 2023.

Wells Fargo analyst Joe Lachky said the company had strong consumer loyalty and would be an attractive sales target, but macroeconomic volatility could dampen enthusiasm for its Brazil business.

Coty shares were up nearly 14% on Monday following the announcement.