International consortium involving GS Group secures controlling 46.9% stake in Hugel

By Lim Chang-won Posted : August 25, 2021, 10:41 Updated : August 25, 2021, 11:20

[Courtesy of Hugel]

SEOUL -- An international consortium involving South Korea's GS Group, an Asian investment group and a Middle East sovereign fund has signed a deal to secure a controlling 46.9 percent stake worth 1.72 trillion won ($1.47 billion) in Hugel, a biopharmaceutical company that produces botulinum toxin (botox) and dermal facial filler products.

Botox, which is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and related species, has been introduced in South Korea mainly for the aesthetic treatment of facial wrinkles. Hugel leads South Korea's botulinum toxin market.

In a regulatory filing on August 25, Hugel listed Aphrodite Acquisition Holdings LLC, a consortium based in the Cayman Islands in the western Caribbean Sea, as its largest shareholder that would replace Leguh Issuer Designated Activity Company (LIDAC) controlled by Bain Capital, a U.S. private equity fund, which acquired a 42.89 percent stake in the South Korean company in 2017.

Hugel said the consortium has signed a securities purchase agreement to take over LIDAC's stake and convertible bonds. After the transfer of shares and convertible bonds, the consortium would control 46.9 percent.

GS Group, a South Korean conglomerate with subsidiaries including GS Caltex and GS Retail, established a special purpose company with IMM Investment, a domestic investment fund, to form a consortium with CBC Group, a healthcare-dedicated private equity firm based in China, and Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund run by an Emirati state-owned holding company.

"We will further expand our bio business, which is a new business in the future, by fostering (Hugel) as a platform that can diversify GS Group's bio business," group chairman Huh Chang-soo said, pointing to Hugel's growth potential and proven products with competitiveness at home and abroad.

Hugel aims to become a global player in aesthetic medicine that focuses on altering cosmetic appearance through the treatment of conditions including scars, skin laxity, wrinkles, moles, liver spots, excess fat, cellulite, unwanted hair, skin discoloration and spider veins. Hugel has stepped up efforts to expand overseas sales. In October 2020, China approved Hugel's botox product. China's Sihuan Pharmaceutical Holdings Group was allowed to release Hugel's botox product under the brand name "Letybo."

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