Cancer Council Sunscreen owner Vitality acquires beauty and care business Essano

Cancer Council Sunscreen owner Vitality acquires beauty and care business Essano

Photo: Essano, via Facebook.

Melbourne-headquartered Vitality Brands, known for such products as Cancer Council Sunscreen, Tribe Skincare and epzen, expects annual turnover to reach $130 million after acquiring New Zealand-founded clean beauty brand Essano for an undisclosed sum.

With rosehip oil as a leading ingredient in much of its range in combination with natural Hyaluronic acid, Essano's products are highly focused on skin hydration but it also sells collagen, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants and more. 

Its products are found in all major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers across Australia and New Zealand, while the business also has representation in Singapore and the US.

Essano's Dominate men's styling brand is also a market leader in New Zealand, where the company has a manufacturing facility and innovation centre.

For its part, Vitality is present in all major FMCG outlets in Australia as well as many global retailers spanning 15 countries, and cites "exceptional" growth over the past three years by doubling revenue. This has enabled the group to increase its community contributions to more than $23 million since inception.

The Vitality leadership expects a "powerful" business to emerge utilising distribution and marketing strengths alongside Essano's R&D capabilities, with opportunities to expand in global markets while benefiting consumers with speed to market, quality ingredients and value for money. 

"The combination of Vitality Brands and Essano presents an exciting opportunity to further advance our international standing in the beauty sector," says Vitality Brands co-founder and managing director Richard Meyrick.

"We are excited to be able to join forces with a business that has aligned values, a commitment to social impact, and who is a true pioneer in the clean beauty market.

"Our combined strengths will make us a formidable force on the world stage and I know we’ll be incredibly competitive working together."

He says Essano's operations, including its manufacturing site, will remain in New Zealand where the group plans to grow the workforce over time to support growth.

"Essano has a strong presence and loyal customer following in the New Zealand market and the Essano brand will be an essential ingredient in our plans to expand the entire portfolio of brands across the globe as we leverage Essano’s innovation and R&D capabilities to benefit the wider Vitality Brands portfolio," Meyrick says.

"The partnership will propel Vitality Brands’ international growth strategy by introducing Essano to Vitality Brands’ vast distribution network across Australia and Asia, while leveraging Essano’s growing presence in the United States to significantly bolster Vitality Brands’ portfolio in this market."

Essano co-founder Shane Young says teaming up with Vitality Brands is a "perfect fit".

"In addition to our companies’ shared values and commitment to delivering the highest quality, value for money products for our loyal customers, along with our strong trans-Tasman sense of family means that as a combined operation we can make further inroads in the beauty sector globally," Young says.

"Vitality Brands has a long track record of building and growing brands and the ability for Essano to access the resources and support of Vitality Brands, as well as share ideas and knowledge, will accelerate Essano’s international growth and contribute to unlocking its full potential," adds Essano's other co-founder, Anthony Gadsdon.

As a result of the transaction, which was advised by Lempriere Wells and Deloitte and is subject to customary closing conditions expected to be completed by the end of March, Pencarrow Private Equity will exit its investment in Essano, returning Essano to full private ownership. 

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