Yorkshire’s Croda buys £232m Solus Biotech of S Korea

By Mark McSherry

Croda International announced it has agreed to acquire Solus Biotech, a leader in “premium, biotechnology-derived beauty actives” from Solus Advanced Materials for £232 million.

Croda is a Snaith, East Yorkshire-based FTSE 100 speciality chemicals giant.

Solus Biotech generated £28 million of sales in 2022. It employs 95 people in South Korea at its R&D centre in Bundag near Seoul and its production centre in Iksan.

Croda CEO Steve Foots said: “This is a strategic bullseye for Croda, consolidating our position as a global leader in supplying sustainable, natural actives for personal care across three critical technology platforms of peptides, ceramides and retinol.

“It significantly enhances our sustainable biotechnology capabilities and adds a North Asia manufacturing and innovation facility, providing a springboard to premium markets in Asia and beyond.

“I am especially excited about their brilliant technology, with Solus bringing rich IP and proprietary know-how that we will be able to deliver to customers globally.”

“The acquisition provides access to Solus’ existing biotech-derived ceramide and phospholipid technologies, and its emerging capabilities in natural retinol,” said Croda.

“This acquisition will significantly strengthen Croda’s Beauty Actives portfolio and increases its exposure to targeted prestige segments.

“Located in South Korea, Solus expands Croda’s Asian manufacturing capability and will create a new biotechnology R&D hub in the region.

“Solus is a leading supplier of naturally derived powder ceramides, a high-growth global market with further potential to extend into formulated ceramides.

“The number of new personal care products containing ceramides has doubled over the last five years, principally for skin care but increasingly for hair care formulations.

“Access to Croda’s formulation capabilities will accelerate development of Solus’ formulated ceramides to create even greater value for our customers globally and address exciting, formulated ceramide demand.

“Solus also brings a portfolio of phospholipids, spanning pharmaceutical applications and beauty care.

“These naturally derived phospholipids are produced at a GMP plant and can be used as delivery systems for pharmaceutical actives and cosmetics.

“This will strengthen our Pharma presence in Asia and enable collaborative R&D with Croda’s Avanti business for the supply of lipid systems for drug delivery.

“In addition, Solus is developing biotech-derived retinol, which is an exciting, sustainable alternative to synthetically derived retinol.

“Solus’ growth will be accelerated by Croda’s ownership through access to our technical and innovation capabilities, particularly in formulation, and by accessing our global selling network.

“The acquisition will give Croda greater ability to serve luxury beauty customers in Asia and globally, and the opportunity to accelerate delivery of Avanti’s pharma product pipeline.”

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.