•News & Opinion from the Old World
IN THE EYE
IN MOST OF THOSE TV programs where earnest interview-
ers ask politicians what's going to happen in the next 12
months, the politicians usually get around to admitting,
after much umming and erring, that actually, they don't
really know what’s going to happen…but you can trust
them (to guess) because they are
decent, sincere, nice people, after
Thus for the purposes of this
article, I would like temporarily
to emulate such politicians,
assuring our readers that I, too,
am a decent, sincere, nice consultant. Last January in Happi, I
stuck my neck out and made a
number of predictions for 2008.
So this year I felt I ought to produce some sort of scorecard, if
only to try and add some vestige
of credibility to what I am forecasting for 2009.
Clearly, there is a
whole raft of significant, major
issues to consider
at the macro economic level, which
will impact our
industry. But given
the amount of TV
airtime which has
devoted to far
than ourselves, I
thought I’d stick to
specifics, on the
basis that I might
as well be hung for a sheep, as for a lamb, etc.
2009 prediction: More of the same. Several of our larger
clients report being almost spoilt for choice, in that they
are now faced with a whole lot of smaller, niche targets to
consider for acquisition by way of portfolio in-fill, etc., as
these smaller companies’ owners feel the need for cash.
So, that’s good for large, publicly traded companies with
plenty of cash. Not so good for owners looking to pay off
their borrowings, etc. Specifics, well, that would be telling,
but...look for more U.S. hair care business to fall into
2008: I said to expect a lot of exciting stuff happening in
developing and emerging markets.
Scorecard: Well, some quite exciting moves did happen in
terms of acquisitions by Western companies in China,
India and Latin America. But as far as I can tell, sales
volumes there have not exactly been gladdening the
hearts of CFOs back at corporate headquarters.
COLIN HESSION IS MANAGING
DIRECTOR OF COLIN HESSION
CONSULTING, A SPECIALIST
CONSULTANCY THAT FOCUSES
EXCLUSIVELY ON PERSONAL
CARE IN EUROPE, IN TERMS OF
MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL
It may be a stormy, turbulent year for the global personal care industry.
Mergers & Acquisitions
2008: I said there would be no mega deals, but that some
smaller-sized companies, highly geared by private equity,
would go on the block for more reasonable numbers and
get snapped up by trade buyers with funds.
Scorecard: Broadly correct. Notable smaller strategic deals
included P&G's acquisition of professional hair care company, Nioxin and Alberto Culver's purchase of venerable
skin care brand Noxzema from P&G.
2009 prediction: Steady as she goes; i.e., more investment
in D&E markets, especially China, as that sleeping giant
awakens and reaches for the toothpaste, soap, shampoo
2008: I argued the case for Chinese beauty retailer
Watsons to make its first move in the U.S. I also pointed
out that the current prohibition on chain pharmacy in
continental Europe was starting to crumble, and won-