Deal type: Growth capital
Paras is a leading health and personal care company in India. Moov, a Paras pain relief ointment, is one of the country’s best-known brands. It’s joined by fourteen others from the Paras family, each with evocative names: anti-ageing cream Recova, cracked heel cream Krack and headache relief tablet Stopache. And they all have their own catchy jingles and straplines (Livon hair untangler: “Fall in love with your hair again with Livon Silky Potion”, Setwet Hair Gel: “Setwet style: very, very sexy!”).
Paras knows the Indian market, and has always capitalised on that. Many of its healthcare products use ingredients from Ayurvedic medicine, and the company has grown by meeting the needs of India’s growing middle-class. In the words of its chairman, Paras’s products are not personal care products as much as ‘lifestyle products’.
One thing emerging markets share is a growing middle-class, and Actis’s investment thesis is to help companies tap into this trend. So Paras was a good investment fit for us. Our plan? Build on Paras’s strong position in an expanding market.
In late 2008 and early 2009, we worked with Paras’s management team to completely revamp the company’s sales and distribution lines. Together, we supported the launch of new products like Moov Neck and Shoulder and DermiCool Skin Defense Talc. Actis also put in place a strong board and recruited a new CEO and senior management team with many years industry experience in companies such as Unilever and Dabur.
The results are: a significant rise in sales and profitability: year-to-date revenue growth is 32% and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) is 51%. Paras products are now available in forty countries.
In December 2010, Actis sold Paras to UK based FTSE 100 firm, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc for US$726m. Commenting on the sale, Paras Founder and Chairman Girish Patel, said “We have been on a rewarding journey with Actis and the quality of our partnership has proved to be the key reason for the recent success of the company.”