Canadian Manufacturing

Quebec health and beauty products maker KDC gets $165M boost

More than $165 million invested in KDC; company plans to double in size following cash infusion

MONTREAL—A Quebec-based maker of health and beauty products for blue chip clients such as Procter & Gamble Co. says it plans to double in size following an infusion of cash from private equity firm Novacap and several institutional partners.

Novacap, La Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, the Quebec Solidarity Fund, Investissement Quebec, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the CSN Fund have invested more than $165 million in Knowlton Development Corp. (KDC), which makes soap, antiperspirants and other products.

The money will be invested through Novacap Industries IV fund, which currently has $300 million in commitments including $80 million from La Caisse, the manager of Quebec’s public sector pension funds.

Novacap expects the Industries IV fund to reach $425 million in a few months.

Novacap, a private equity firm with $1.5 billion under management, and several unidentified partners acquired KDC in 2002 and helped the company to grow its annual sales to $500 million from $60 million.

For instance, the company built a $58-million plant in Columbus, Ohio.

Novacap says the new investment will fuel KDC’s efforts to double its production and become an industry leader with $1 billion in annual revenues by 2018.

Novacap senior partner Michel Cote, who is chairman of KDC’s board, says Fortune 500 companies are increasingly turning to large suppliers to manoeuvre through the complex challenges of competing globally.

The company operates plants in Knowlton, Que., Mississauga, Ont., Virginia and Ohio that employ 2,200 workers, including 900 in Quebec.

Christian Dube, executive vice-president for La Caisse, says its investment reflects its efforts to support Quebec companies with their international expansion.

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