Unza

Region

South-East Asia

Country

Malaysia

Deal type

Buy-out capital

Investment date

2004

Exit date

2007

Status date

Realised

The beauty of growth

In front of bathroom mirrors the world over men and women faithfully follow their beauty regimes; cleaning, grooming and polishing in a tried and tested sequence. Unza taps into this universal trend and has grown to become South East Asia's largest independent manufacturer and marketer of personal care products including face creams, shampoos, aftershaves and deodorants. Its brands, designed for local cultures and tastes, include Enchantuer, Safi, and Eversoft. Many of the products are alcohol- and gelatin-free to appeal to Muslim consumers.

After being impacted by the Asian crisis, Unza's majority shareholder, Berjaya was looking for an exit from the business to generate cash. At the same time, the management was keen to conduct a buy-out to help the company grow to its full potential.

In 2004, Actis backed the US$100m management buy-out (MBO), which was, at the time, the largest MBO ever undertaken in Malaysia. Actis was attracted to the deal by Unza’s multinational management team, entrepreneurial flair and the emerging consumer opportunities in Unza’s market.

Actis worked alongside the management team to regionalise the business from its core Malaysian base. It bought out the minority investor in Unza’s fast-growing Vietnamese subsidiary, turned around Unza’s Chinese operations, acquired an Indonesian competitor and re-invested to build two new factories.

In 2007, Actis exited Unza following its acquisition by Indian company Wipro, which was seeking to expand its successful personal care products business eastwards into South East Asia and China.