May 21, 2018

[Q&A] Hugel-Bain tie-up explained

PUBLISHED : May 18, 2017 - 18:15

UPDATED : May 18, 2017 - 18:16

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[THE INVESTOR] Investors are paying keen attention to Hugel, a Korean botulinum toxin maker that has recently been acquired by US private equity firm Bain Capital.

On April 17, Bain agreed to invest US$816 million to acquire a 40 percent stake in the Korean drug maker that holds about 30 percent of the nation’s botox market share with its flagship wrinkle treatment Botulax. 

Bain’s Hugel acquisition rattles domestic rivals
Bain-backed Hugel to look for new US retail partner

Hugel posted a record quarterly operating profit of 25.85 billion won (US$23 million) in the first quarter, a whopping 194 jump from a year ago.

Here are key questions and answers about Hugel’s tie-up with Bain and its future business plans unveiled during a non-deal roadshow for local institutional investors on May 11.

Q: What will you do with Bain’s funding?

A: Bain hopes to use 100 billion won to transfer the US sales rights of our botox products that are currently owned by Croma Pharma, our retail partner based in Austria, to a bigger pharmaceutical company. The money will be used to adjust the detailed deal conditions that were signed in 2015.

The firm is likely to acquire more shares, especially those owned by Across, our subsidiary that produces dermal fillers, and to spend some of the funding on building a third production plant.

The firm also plans to establish new entities in key markets such as Thailand, Japan and Brazil to sell products directly without local partners. It would cost about 10 to 20 billion won for each to set up.

Q: How’s Botulax’s approval process going in the US and Europe?

A: Croma is expected to gain regulatory approval in the US and Europe by the end of 2018. The firm has recruited 600 patients in the US and 300 in Europe for the final phase 3 clinical trials that will be completed by the end of this year.

Q: Will Bain consider any management reshuffle after acquisition?

A: No drastic change is expected but the final decision is totally up to Bain. The firm’s priority is entering US and European markets. Executives with relevant experience will be pushed for the successful debut.

Q: Can you share some sales figures of filler products?

A: We sold 1 million syringes in 2015 and 2 million syringes last year. Earlier this year, we shut down the production plant to replace outdated facilities. The production capacity will increase to 3 million syringes this year, up 50 percent from 2016.

By Park Han-na (

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