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Unicharm Acquires Majority Stake in Hartz

Posted: Jan. 5, 2012, 2:25 p.m. EST


Hartz deal

Japanese firms Unicharm Corp. and Sumitomo Corp., including Sumitomo Corp. of America, closed a joint venture deal Dec. 30, 2011, in which Unicharm acquired a majority stake in Hartz Mountain Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo.

“This new strategic partnership brings together the brand power, deep category expertise and existing market share of Hartz with Unicharm’s proprietary technology and high-performing innovation,” said Koichi Isohata of Sumitomo. “The alliance is intended to grow the Hartz business, maximizing the potential of the U.S. pet care market and ideally build the business globally.”

The companies signed a letter of intent to form a joint-venture in May, with the deal calling for Unicharm to acquire 51 percent of Hartz. An initial growth emphasis for the joint venture in the U.S. will be using the Hartz brand and marketing clout to offer pet toiletry products incorporating Unicharm’s absorbent material technology.

Unicharm Pet Care, a major manufacturer in the Japan pet market with sales of about $600 million in its fiscal 2011, markets both pet foods for cats and dogs and, more significantly, various waste management products, especially puppy training pads but also Deo-Sheet excrement cleaning sheets and the Deo-Sand and Deo-Toilet lines for cats. In Japan, Unicharm focuses its pet product development on four main trends: the increase in small dogs, overweight dogs, old dogs and indoor dogs.

The company’s human product business focuses on similar lines, with diapers and related products for all ages, feminine hygiene products, and various cleaning sheet products for personal use and home care.
Sumitomo Corp. reports that Hartz has expanded its share of the U.S. pet care market since Sumitomo acquired the company in 2004, largely due to Sumitomo’s chemical strengths.

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