Wipro to enter African consumer care market with Canway

In an attempt to foray into the African consumer care market, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting(WCCL) has acquired South-African company Canway Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Canway Corp. is South Africa’s flagship personal care company which markets its products through brands like Oh So Heavenly, Iwory and IQ. The transaction is expected to close by the end of January next year. 

WCCL has so far spent around $950mn in acquisitions in a time period of 16 years, buyout of Canway is reportedly the company’s 12 acquisition.Canway’s annual revenue for the year 2018 stood at around $21mn. In April this year, Wipro also acquired Philippines’s largest personal care company, Splash Corp. 

The Oh So Heavenly brand accounts for 80% of the Canway’s total sale and is exclusively sold through health and beauty retail chain Clicks. “The Oh So Heavenly brand enjoys market-leading position in multiple categories such as bath and shower, hand creams, fragranced body sprays, and children’s products. It is a leader in the gifting segment that constitutes a large portion of the South African personal care market,” Wipro said in an official statement. 

With the acquisition, Wipro also got Canway’s Iwory brand’s manufacturing and research center in Durban. Talking to media, founder of Canway, Andre Barnard said, “We are confident that with Wipro’s marketing expertise and its international distribution network, we will significantly expand our geographical presence and take our brands to new heights.”

Talking about the possibilities of bringing Canway to the Indian markets, chief financial officer of Wipro Enterprises Raghav Swaminathan said, “The Oh So Heavenly brand portfolio can be expanded to other international markets where Wipro has a strong footprint,” while WCCL’s chief executive Vineet Agrawal said the company is yet to evaluate the launch in the country but is likely to come up with a plan by the end of January.

The buyout is a part of Wipro’s aggressive acquisition strategy since 2003 where it bought Glucovita, a glucose brand from Hindustan Unilever. In the following years, it added companies like Chandrika in 2004, Unza in 2007, Yardley – Middle East, North Africa and Australasia in 2009, Yardley UK in 2012, LD Waxsons Group in 2012 and Zhongshan Ma Er Daily Products Ltd in 2016 under its cap. In addition to these acquisitions, WCCL has also set up a venture capital fund called Wipro Consumer Care–Ventures.

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