May 13, 2019 / 5:28 PM / a month ago

Nivea-maker Beiersdorf buys Coppertone for $550 million

FILE PHOTO: Nivea tins are seen in a production line at the plant of German personal-care company Beiersdorf in Hamburg, Germany March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Beiersdorf, the maker of Nivea and other skin care brands, is buying U.S. sun care brand Coppertone from Bayer for $550 million to strengthen its position in North America, the German consumer goods firm said on Monday.

Beiersdorf said in a statement that Coppertone had sales of around $213 million in 2018. It said the transaction was subject to approval by merger control authorities, but should be closed in the third quarter.

“We are convinced that Coppertone and its team will add complementary expertise to our leading brand portfolio and significantly strengthen our position particularly in the U.S.,” said Beiersdorf chief executive Stefan de Loecker.

In the first quarter, Beiersdorf’s sales growth in North America lagged most of the rest of the group, rising 3.7 percent after stripping out currency effects, versus 6 percent overall.

De Loecker, who took over as CEO in January, has said he wants to look for acquisitions. The company is sitting on a cash pile of more than 4 billion euros and has faced calls from investors to return cash to shareholders.

Beiersdorf’s Nivea Sun is a leading sun care brand in Europe and its Eucerin brand also makes sun care products.

Founded in 1944, Coppertone was bought by Bayer in 2014. The chemicals firm said it had made progress in revitalizing the brand and developing more innovative products.

Bayer said the sale would allow it to focus on building its core over-the-counter brands like Asprin and Berocca vitamins.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Mark Potter

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