Colgate-Palmolive Co. said Wednesday it is buying the shower gel and deodorant brand Sanex for 672 million euros ($940 million) from Unilever PLC in a move to expand its personal care business in Europe.
Colgate is shifting its focus away from laundry detergent to focus on categories includes oral care, personal care and pet nutrition.
"This acquisition will strengthen Colgate's positions in the shower gel and deodorant categories in several key countries in Europe and our overall personal care business in that region," said Colgate CEO Ian Cook.
Unilever bought the Sanex brand from Sara Lee Corp. as part of a larger acquisition of Sara Lee's body care and European detergent businesses completed in December. European regulators said it must sell the Sanex brand for the deal to be approved.
The Sanex business includes liquid body cleansers and deodorants sold mainly in Western Europe.
At the same time, the Dutch consumer products company Unilever is buying Colgate's laundry detergent business in Colombia for $215 million.
Unilever's president of categories, Michael Polk, said the detergent deal, which includes the Fab, Lavomatic and Vel brands, will "significantly enhance our position in one of the larger detergents markets in Latin America."
Colgate, based in New York, expects the deal will help its net income by 4 percent in 2011 due to the detergent sale and by 1 percent in 2012.
The acquisition comes as Colgate and other consumer-products makers are facing rising commodity costs.
Colgate-Palmolive shares fell 19 cents to $78.24 in afternoon trading.