KENYA – UK headquartered manufacturer–Unilever Overseas Holdings, a transnational consumer goods company, has gotten a major boost in its quest to expand its portfolio in Kenya and the East Africa region.

This follows the approval by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to acquire a majority stake (90%) in a subsidiary of Tanzania’s Chemi and Cotex Industries Limited.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) issued the condition in approving the multinational manufacturing giant’s 90 per cent acquisition of the local beauty products maker.

The firm is involved in the distribution of cosmetics, beauty, hair, oral care products and food products, one of East Africa’s leading fast moving consumer goods companies

Unilever on the other hand, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever Plc which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

With the approval, Unilever will now move to assume direct control of the investment company and indirect control over Chemi & Cotex Kenya Limited.

The parties’ combined and relevant turnover for the preceding year was over KSh1 billion (US$9.7million)

“The approval was granted on condition that the acquirer continue providing the target’s products in the market for at least three years upon conclusion of the transaction,” the CAK said in a statement.

Unilever B.V, through entities it controls in Kenya, is involved in the distribution of skin, hair, and oral care and food products. The parties’ activities overlap in the distribution of skin, hair and oral care products.

The move comes amid fears that the acquisition would result in some of the products under Chemi & Cotex’s stable being immediately withdrawn from the local market.

The move now puts Unilever Overseas Holdings at a strategic position to grow its market share in Kenya and the East Africa region where through its subsidiaries, it provides food, drink, personal care, and home related products.

Unilever produces toothpaste and toothbrushes under the Close-Up and Pepsodent brands while Chemi & Cotex produces the White Dent toothpaste, a leading brand in Tanzania used by more than 20 million people.

Skin care products include cream, glycerine, lotions and petroleum jelly, among others.

Chemi & Cotex Kenya Limited deals in brands such as Bodyline Baby Soft Skin Glow Siri, U & Me, Lovely, and Bannister.

Unilever on the other hand produces Vaseline, Geisha, Dove, and St.Ives brands.

The approval has however been granted on condition that Unilever continues providing Chemi & Cotex’s products in the market for at least three years upon conclusion of the transaction.