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HUL buys into two digital-first wellness start-ups, details here

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Representational image. News18

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has acquired stakes in two digital-first health and wellness companies. With this, HUL has entered the domestic market for health and wellness products, which is likely to reach a Rs 30,000 crore valuation in the next five years. The company has picked up stakes in Zywie Ventures Pvt. Ltd and Nutritionalab Pvt. A total amount of Rs 334 crore has been spent by HUL for the two deals. The existing leaderships of both firms are going to continue to manage their operations, and HUL will be getting representation on their boards.

Zywie Ventures Pvt. Ltd is the maker of the OZiva brand of lifestyle protein products, and hair and beauty supplements. Nutritional Pvt. Ltd sells products under the Wellbeing Nutrition brand. It makes slow-release capsules, oral thin strips, and marine collagen powder.

As per the HUL, both transactions are likely to be completed in the next one to three months. The move is in line with HUL’s “strategic priority” of making an entry into the fast-growing demand space. According to Ritesh Tiwari, a chief financial officer of HUL, holistic health and wellness are emerging as “mega consumer trends” in India. The company intends to build a portfolio of lifestyle-led, fast-growing, science-driven brands in the category of health and wellbeing.

HUL stated in a regulatory filing on Thursday that it has picked up a 51 per cent stake in Zywie for Rs 264.28 crore in the first tranche. It will acquire the rest of the 49 per cent stake on pre-agreed valuation criteria three years from the completion of the first tranche. OZiva is endorsed by Deepika Padukone. Aarti Gill and Mihir Gadani currently lead the team.

HUL has purchased a 19.8 per cent stake for Rs 70 crore in Avnish Chhabria’s Nutritionalab. The stake was acquired via a mix of primary infusion and secondary buyouts for Rs 70 crore in cash. Nutritionalab earned a revenue of Rs 19.4 crore in FY22.

This is not HUL’s first foray into the sector. In 2015, it acquired the hair-care brand Indulekha for Rs 330 crore. In 2020, HUL acquired VWash from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

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