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Firm behind ‘whitening craze’ in Philippines sells biz to India-based firm

/ 03:49 PM April 29, 2019
Firm behind 'whitening craze' in Philippines sells biz to India-based firm

Splash leads in a number of niche categories of the personal care industry such as whitening. It is out to move into the mainstream categories, such as shampoo

MANILA, Philippines – The Filipino firm that started the “whitening craze” in the country decades ago has sold its personal care business to an India-based company for a deal estimated at P9 billion to P11 billion.

Wipro Consumer Care (WCC) has acquired the personal care business of Splash Corp., buying brands under the homegrown firm such as Maxi-Peel and SkinWhite.

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WCC is in the same business as Splash Corp., but it has a stronger global market presence than the latter, operating in over 40 countries. Splash Corp., for its part, is only present in several countries such as Nigeria and Indonesia.

Rolando Hortaleza, the founder of Splash Corp., said that the company had been courted by many suitors through the years. But it was WCC that gave the right offer, which he said cost P9 billion to P11 billion.

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“I don’t think I can bring it to the next level because of the intensity of the competition and the limited resources,” he said on the sidelines of a press briefing on Monday.

“So it’s nice to partner with them, then I’ll transfer the resources to companies that [also] have a strong potential for growth,” he added, referring to Splash Corp.’s other businesses such as in food.

Splash Corp. will keep its top officials in the segment, while Hortaleza will stay on as an advisor for marketing, innovation, and the overall transition of the business.

The deal has been approved by the Philippine Competition Commission back in February, according to a previous statement from the country’s antitrust body.

Nagender Arya, WCC Regional Director, said that they would sustain Splash Corp.’s current direction, but they will accelerate it such as in terms of research and development.

WCC already has one personal care brand present in the Philippines called the Enchanteur. WCC, which has over 20 brands, will only bring its other products to the Philippines if the local marketing sees it fit, Arya said.

Splash Corp. offers more than just whitening products. Its personal care business, which also offers exfoliant and haircare products, has consistently grown faster than the industry in the past five years, according to Vicci Tomas, company president and chief operating officer.

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The segment, which grew 10 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, still has enough production capacity in its plant in Valenzuela City to cover both this year and the next.

WCC, which has 15 manufacturing plants, wants to export Splash Corp.’s products. Tomas said that the plans for additional capacity, if necessary, will be discussed moving forward.

Hortaleza recalled starting the company in 1985, noting that consumers were “looking for” a whitening product even back then.

“We were just so fast that we came ahead [of] the competition. That’s the reason why started the whitening craze,” he said, recalling the company’s roots more than two decades ago.

Its SkinWhite brand, however, has received backlash earlier this month for its #DarkorWhiteisBeautiful marketing campaign, which, not only gave a confusing message given its brand name but also had a model with light skin color use brownface.

“Of course, we continue to believe that we should offer choices to the consumers. there are those who would like to maintain their skin complexion, but there are those who would like to whiten their skin and we offer our products to them,” he added./ac

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TAGS: India, Maxi-Peel, Rolando Hortaleza, SkinWhite, splash corp, White Skin, Wipro Consumer Care
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