Chinese group buys condom brand named after James Bond for £462 million

The deal will allow Ansell to focus on its industrial and medical rubber products

Angus Whitley
Thursday 25 May 2017 12:01
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China’s condom market is set to almost triple to $5bn by 2024 from 2015
China’s condom market is set to almost triple to $5bn by 2024 from 2015

A Chinese group is buying the condom brand named after fictional British spy James Bond.

Ansell, the Australian maker of gloves and surgical masks, said Thursday it’s selling its condom and lubricants business for $600m (£462) to Humanwell Healthcare Group and CITIC Capital China Partners .

Among its brands is Jissbon, a Chinese translation of James Bond that aims to cash in on the popularity of a secret agent who became almost as famous for his sexual exploits as his missions to save the world.

China’s condom market is set to almost triple to $5bn by 2024 from 2015, according to a report by Transparency Market Research last year. Rising awareness of the health benefits of condoms are outweighing the impact of the end of China’s one-child policy, the report said.

China’s National Center for sexually transmitted diseases control in 2011 found an increasing epidemic of STDs including HIV. In the nine years to 2000, the number of syphilis cases in China rose by an average of 52 per cent a year and genital herpes by 55 per cent.

At Ansell’s Sexual Wellness business, the company’s smallest division, sales in China jumped 28 per cent in the year ended June 2016. The unit generated operating profit of $31m from sales of $220m, according to the company’s annual report. It operates in countries including India, Australia and Brazil and sells brands such as Skyn, LifeStyles, Kama Sutra and Blowtex.

The deal follows the death of Roger Moore, who played Bond in seven movies from 1973 to 1985 including “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Shares in Ansell, which has been shifting its business toward industrial protection and away from consumer products, jumped 3.9 per cent to A$25.09 at 12:43 pm in Sydney, valuing the Melbourne-based company at A$3.7 bn ($2.8 bn; £2.17bn).

Humanwell, based in central China’s Hubei province, manufactures a wide range of drugs from contraceptive pills to HIV test kits and anaesthetics. It bought Epic Pharma for $550m last year as part of a push to enter developed markets.

Chinese drugmakers have sought foreign acquisitions to help drive innovation and expand beyond the home market where government pressure on prices has squeezed margins.

Bloomberg

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