ATHENS – One of Greece’s most iconic brands, Korres, known internationally for its all-natural line of cosmetics and grooming products, is giving up a majority share to the US investment fund Morgan Stanley and a Chinese company, Profex.
That comes on the heels of one of its peers and competitors, Apivita, being taken over by the Spanish group Puig with another major Greek company passing into foreign hands.
Korres said it had signed a deal with Morgan Stanley and Profex, which is owned by Greek entrepreneur Pavlos Kontomichalos, which will see further expansion worldwide.
The companies will take 70 percent ownership in Korres while its founder, Giorgos Korres, who had said he was being wooed by foreign investors, will keep 30 percent and handle the management despite being a minority owner.
The deal will spread Korres further around the world but particularly to the Chinese market where there is keen interest in Greek products. It has to be approved by Greece’s four major banks who had given Korres a corporate loan of 25 million euros ($29.95 million.) The price of the deal wasn’t given.
The transaction will be made through Cyprus-based company Nissos Holdings, founded by Korres last March. NHPEA Maiden Holding, an investment fund controlled by Morgan Stanley, will acquire 56 percent of Nissos and Profex another 14 percent, and then Nissos will buy out 52.3 percent of the Korres shares of which 6.6 percent belongs to Giorgos Korres and 45.7 percent to other stakeholders. The price agreed amounts to 5.08 euros per share, at a 25 percent premium, Kathimerini reported.
When another 30 percent from Giorgos Korres is added, the Nissos stake in Korres will come to 82.3 percent, allowing it to force out other shareholders.
After the completion of the public proposal for the acquisition of the remaining stakes, Nissos will announce a 10-million-euro share ($11.08 million) capital increase, to be used for investment in production, the report said.
Profex will also distribute Korres products to Hong Kong and Macao while Korres said that its plant in Oinofyta, north of Athens, will concentrate on making enough for China’s growing appetite for its goods.