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Blackmores vies for Nature’s Care

by Bridget Carter and Gretchen Friemann
27 Jan 2016 2:00AM

Blackmores vies for Nature’s Care

Australia’s star sharemarket performer Blackmores, under chief executive Christine Holgate, has emerged as a potential bidder in the sales process for the vitamin supplement business Nature’s Care, which has been placed on the ­market through advisers JPMorgan and Ord Minnett. An Asian roadshow for the healthcare business was launched in recent days, with a teaser document being sent out to potential buyers. This week, Marcus Blackmore, executive chairman of Blackmores, said he would almost certainly look at acquiring Nature’s Care. “Blackmores likes acquiring companies,” Mr Blackmore said. “I will talk to my board. I think we will probably look at it.” However, he cautioned that the company’s toppy value may be a deterrent for the company that has seen its share price increase sixfold in almost a year. “I think the market has overreacted when it comes to valuations, based on Blackmores share price (which last traded around $206),” the company founder told DataRoom. Blackmores is likely to compete with other Asian groups, such as Shanghai Pharma and Hony Capital out of China that both lined up to buy Swisse Wellness last year when it sold for a whopping $1.67 billion. The buyer was the Biostime pharmaceutical business out of Hong Kong. China’s Fosun could also take a look. It is expected the business will be sold to an Asian group, at a time when they are targeting Aus­tralia’s vitamin supplement and ­infant formula markers due to the surging demand for high-quality products from Chinese consumers. Interestingly, Ord Minnett ­secured a mandate on the sale of the business because of the close ­connection between founding managing director Steve Collett and one of financial firm’s private client advisers. Mr Collett signalled potential plans to divest the business this month. It is understood he is seeking a price of at least $1bn for the ­business that manufactures and distributes baby skincare and ­infant formula, health food ­supplements and adult skincare products from its base in Sydney. Mr Collett has previously outlined how the company’s earnings had been growing 50 per cent year-on-year for the past three years, with half the product distributed to China. Recently, Nature’s Care launched a new production facility that will enable three times the ­capacity as of January next year. Following the outcome of this sales process, deal makers will be closely watching the movements of Sydney-based PharmaCare, which owns rival business ­Nature’s Way. Bankers are believed to have been urging PharmaCare to place itself up for sale for some time, but they have been repeatedly told by the company’s chief executive, Vincent Tan, that the business was not for sale.