Jan 7, 2009

Business - HUL transfers beauty & wellness services to new unit Lakme Lever

FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has decided to license its Lakme and Lever Ayush brands to a new subsidiary, Lakme Lever Pvt Ltd, for the beauty and wellness services business.

The decision was approved by the board of directors, the company said in a press release.

HUL currently operates in the beauty and wellness services segment through a network of franchised Lakme Beauty Salons and Ayush Therapy Centres.

The operations of Lakme Lever Pvt Ltd will be handled by Mr Anil Chopra, who recently retired from HUL as Vice-President, Home & Personal Care, along with Mr D. Sundaram, Director, Finance & IT, and Mr Ashok Gupta, Executive Director, Legal, HUL.

According to the company, “Growing disposable income and changing lifestyles in urban India has led to greater awareness about personal grooming, health and wellness.

“The emerging trends augur well for the beauty and wellness services sector, presenting a large and exciting opportunity. However, since these services operate on a franchise model, these contribute to an insignificant proportion of the company’s turnover and profits.”

The Lakme Beauty Salons grew in excess of 30 per cent in 2007 and added 24 new salons. Currently, there are 105 salons spread across 30 cities. Ayush has 45 therapy centres in seven cities and has technical collaboration with Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore.

The new subsidiary will evaluate options towards developing a uniquely different business model. HUL will not be directly engaged in the services business of Lakme Salons and Ayush Therapy Centres. The HUL scrip was up by 1.27 per cent and closed at Rs 246.65.

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