Skincare brand Sukin sold to former BWX CEO for $70m

BWX, a beauty company in financial distress, has finalised the sale of its notable Sukin brand. The acquisition was made by PNB Consolidated, led by BWX’s former CEO, John Humble.

Transaction Snapshot

  • Deal Value: Over $70 million
  • Deal Type: Acquisition
  • Buyer: John Humble's PNB Consolidated

The sale process, managed by BWX’s receivers, KPMG, involved competitive bidding. The final stage saw John Humble's PNB Consolidated outbidding pharmaceutical tycoon Dennis Bastas. Previously, TPG Capital, through its iNova Pharmaceuticals division, had also shown interest in these assets.

John Humble's journey with BWX has been eventful. In 2018, he unsuccessfully attempted to acquire the business for $860 million, in partnership with Bain Capital. Following this, he departed BWX, focusing on Natural Beauty and Care through PNB Consolidated.

Sukin, founded in 2007, has emerged as a significant player in the beauty sector. It boasts a 90% distribution reach in grocery and pharmacy outlets across Australia. The associated Melbourne manufacturing facility, capable of producing 70 million units annually, was also part of this deal. This facility has seen a $34 million investment and is equipped for various packaging formats.

BWX, once a thriving small-cap company, faced significant financial challenges in 2022, leading to a loss of shareholder confidence. Multiple requests for leniency from its lender, Commonwealth Bank, culminated in BWX entering receivership in April.

This deal follows after BWX's 49.9% stake in Go-To Skincare was sold back to co-founder Zoe Foster Blake. This stake caught the interest of Suzi Carp’s River Capital but was ultimately acquired by Ms Foster Blake.

The conclusion of this sale leaves BWX's US operations, a comparatively minor segment, still available for purchase. As BWX's financial saga continues, Commonwealth Bank awaits the recovery of approximately $120 million in debt.

Shareholders including Andrew Forrest's Tattarang, holding 19.8% of BWX, saw their investments vanish. This decline followed their increased stake in a June 2022 capital raising, just before BWX's problems surfaced.

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