22 September 2015

Aussie company Swisse sold to Hong Kong firm for nearly$1.7 billion

Melbourne-grown vitamin producer Swisse has been sold to Hong Kong interests for nearly $1.7 billion AUD.

The $1.67 billion AUD sale of the business to baby care formula group Biostime was finalised on Thursday, September 17. Although the Australian company would not reveal the shareholding of the majority owners, it is believed that founder Kevin Ring’s family held about 60 per cent of Swisse, with the remaining percentage reportedly divided among existing and former management.

The company founded by Melbourne-based organic baker Kevin Ring announced it would maintain about a 20 per cent interest in the company after the sale. Swisse will continue to be based in Melbourne, with a head office in Collingwood. Biostime beat rival Chinese companies Shanghai Pharma and Hony Capital in a fierce bidding war.

Swisse has recently signed a global licensing deal with giant multinational Procter and Gamble to expand sales in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Following the deal, Kevin Ring’s son and his business partners Michael Saba and Radek Sali became some of Melbourne’s richest people, with estimated net worths in excess of $250 million AUD each.

Swisse founder Kevin Ring switched to herbal and vitamin supplements after a trip to Switzerland. His first product, a pollen tablet, hit the shelves in 1972.