A Chinese consortium featuring one of China’s biggest diversified conglomerates, CITIC Limited, has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Sydney-based vitamins manufacturer Nature’s Care.
The consortium, comprised of Beijing-based China Jianyin Investment (JIC) and Tamar Alliance, a joint venture between CITIC and Dah Chong Hong, will acquire a majority stake, while the Sydney-based Wu family will retain a portion of Australia’s third-largest vitamins company.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but industry sources have reportedly said the buyout multiple has valued the company at around $800 million.
The consortium said in a statement it was optimistic around the fast-rising demand for preventive health and nutritional supplements against the backdrop of Chinese consumers' increasing focus on personal health.
"The boom of cross-border e-commerce further enhances the explosive growth in need for high quality nutritional supplements from overseas countries like Australia," the statement said.
The consortium was advised by Deutsche Bank, while Clifford Chance acted as its legal adviser. Nature's Care was advised by UBS, while Norton Rose Fulbright was its legal counsel.
The deal is the latest in a series of large transactions featuring Chinese buyers and Australian healthcare manufacturers, highlighted by the $1.4 billion sale of Swisse Wellness to X-based Biostime in 2015.
Other major transactions in recent years include Shanghai Pharmacueticals Holding Co and Primavera Capital Fund acquiring supplements manufacturer Vitaco in 2016 for $314 million, as well as the $690 million sale of Life-Space Group to China’s By-Health in January.
The Wu family had been evaluating its options to sell Nature’s Care for some time, flagging plans late last year to list the company on the ASX via an $800 million-plus initial public offering.
That IPO, which indicated Nature’s Care achieved around $178 million in annual sales and around $60 million in annual earnings, was the second attempt to sell the company in the past two years, with private equity groups allowed to run their eyes over the company’s books in early 2016.
Nature’s Care products include health supplements and vitamins, baby formulas, and skincare products, available through major supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths, as well as pharmacy networks Priceline and Chemist Warehouse.