Unilever announced that it has acquired a majority stake in the Qinyuan Group, a leading Chinese water purification business for an undisclosed amount. Qinyuan generated sales approaching €140 million (c. 1.2 billion RMB] for the 12-month period ending 31 December 2013.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman said: “We are delighted to be making this strategic investment – a majority stake in Qinyuan – our biggest acquisition in China for more than ten years. Unilever has been building a global water purification business with Pureit, a very effective, affordable water purification device, already present in several countries in South Asia, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. This deal will more than double the size of our water purification business and will bring together complementary technology from Pureit and Qinyuan and leverage Qinyuan’s local marketing insight, manufacturing and distribution strength – all under the Unilever umbrella.”
The Unilever Pureit purifiers and the current Qinyuan product range offer different and complementary performance and price points and will enable the combined business to offer a complete range of products.
Qinyuan founder, Mr Ye, who will continue to be CEO of the business, said, “We are very pleased to have been able to partner with Unilever. We think the deal brings together very relevant innovation, technology, design and manufacturing capabilities which can enable China to become an important hub in the development of the global Unilever Pureit business.”
The water purification market has been growing rapidly in China – over 20% per annum over the last three years – and Qinyuan has been playing an important role in developing the market.
Under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), the company aims to make safe drinking water available and affordable to people across the world. 45 million people have gained access to safe drinking water from Pureit since its launch in 2005 (Unilever).