Modibodi acquired by Swedish multinational Essity for $140 million

(Source: Modibodi / Facebook)

Australian leakproof apparel pioneer Modibodi has been bought by Swedish hygiene and health company Essity in a deal worth $140 million. 

Essity, which owns the Tena brand of disposable incontinence products, says the acquisition will strengthen its position in the leakproof apparel market which it describes as the fastest-growing segment in the intimate hygiene category.

“Modibodi has the qualities we are looking for with leading market positions, strong brand and sustainability credentials as well as excellent digital marketing and e-commerce capabilities,” said Magnus Groth, president and CEO at Essity.

Modibodi was founded by its CEO Kristy Chong nine years ago and has a strong market presence in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Last year’s sales were around $56.7 million, representing on-year growth of 18 per cent. EBITDA was $5.6 million. 

In a statement issued by Essity, Chong said that as a global leader in hygiene and health, the Swedish company “can provide the expertise and capital to take the brand forward during its next phase of growth, and achieve even greater impact”. 

The deal was one of two acquisitions in the category confirmed by Essity overnight on Friday. The company will also purchase an 80-per-cent stake in Knix, a Canadian e-commerce startup that designs and sells leakproof underwear, swimwear, bras and other apparel. That deal was valued at A$459 million The founder and CEO of Knix, Joanna Griffiths, will retain the balance of the shares and continue as president.

Strong growth projected in leakproof market

Essity expects the leakproof apparel market to grow by more than 20 per cent in each of the next five years and Modibodi will join the company’s existing brands in the sector, including Libresse, Bodyform, Saba and Tom Organic. 

Founded five years ago, after being sun off by FMCG giant SCA, publicly listed Essity also sells single-use products such as tissue paper and baby diapers, along with solutions for compression therapy, orthopaedics and wound care.

The company has 46,000 employees worldwide and reported net sales of $18 billion in 2019. Its name is a compression of the words essentials and necessity.

Modibodi’s range includes leakproof apparel for periods and incontinence including underwear, swimwear, activewear and maternity wear. It sells online in a direct-to-consumer business model, as well as through retailers, both online and offline. The Sydney-headquartered company has 45 employees.

Essity said it expects to finalise the deal during the second half of this year.

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