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Consortium including GS buys stake in Hugel

Conglomerate searches for new business opportunities

Hugel’s second factory in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province (Hugel)
Hugel’s second factory in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province (Hugel)

A consortium including GS Group will buy a near half stake in South Korean botulinum toxin manufacturer Hugel for 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion), it was announced Wednesday.

The deal involves the transfer of a 46.9 percent stake in Hugel currently held by the US private equity Bain Capital.

Aside from GS, members of the consortium include CBC, Asia‘s largest healthcare-dedicated investment firm headquartered in Singapore; Mubadala Investment Company, the Abu Dhabi-based investor; and Seoul-based private equity IMM Investment Corp. From GS, the ninth-largest conglomerate by asset in Korea, its holdings company GS Holdings Corp. took part.

“The company considers that the company’s value has been well recognized through the latest deal,” Hugel said in its official press release. It hopes for potential partnerships with its new stakeholders, with an aim of expanding its business overseas, it added.

Founded in 2001, Hugel is South Korea’s leading botulinum toxin product maker. The company’s botulinum toxin, sold under the brand Botulax, holds a 40 percent market share in South Korea.

The company currently exports the botulinum toxin product to 28 countries around the globe. Last year, Hugel became the first Korean company to receive the Chinese government’s approval to sell its botulinum toxin products in China. Hugel is also known for producing dermal facial fillers used to minimize wrinkles as well.

Bain Capital acquired the shares in Hugel in 2017 for around $816 million.

For GS, the deal marks its first step in efforts to find growth opportunities in new frontiers.

Spanning from retail to construction, the conglomerate has been looking to diversify its business portfolio by adding promising new industries such as bio and green energy.

On the reasons for the Hugel deal, GS Group Chairman Heo Tae-soo said, “Hugel has achieved competitiveness in the highly competitive global biopharmaceutical market through its botulinum toxin and dermal filler products. Hugel is expected to continue its growth down the road.”

The group will continue striving to make bio its future growth driver, the chairman added.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube