Ansell offloads condom division for $600m

Ansell condomsImage copyright
Reuters

A Chinese consortium has paid $600m (£462m) for the world’s second-largest condom maker.

Australia’s Ansell is selling its condom division to Humanwell Healthcare Group and CITIC Capital China Partners in an all-cash deal.

Global sales of its brands, which include Mates, Skyn and Jissbon, lag behind Reckitt Benckiser’s Durex.

The deal will allow Ansell to focus on its industrial and medical rubber products.

Ansell chief executive Magnus Nicolin said: “It is our only consumer business, it is the only business where we’re not number one in the world, it is a business with a dramatically different go-to-market in terms of marketing spend.”

China’s condom market is expected to grow by 12% annually between 2016 and 2024 and be worth more than $5bn a year, according to a Transparency Market Research report.

Ansell said while there was potential for good growth for condom sales in emerging markets, it felt they would ultimately slow.

‘Good move’

Attitudes towards sex in China have become less strict recently, and more emphasis has been placed on public health education.

Ansell’s association with condoms dates back to 1905 when Eric Norman Ansell bought the condom production machinery owned by his employer, the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company.

The condoms business is the company’s oldest and smallest division.

Anton Tagliaferro, investment director at Investors Mutual Ltd, a major investor in Ansell, said: “They’ve sold what was a smallish part of their overall business for a very good price, we think it’s a good move.”

Ansell shares closed 4.3% higher at $25.18 in Sydney. The stock has risen by a third over the past 12 months.

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