The El Paso-based owner of Hydro Flask water bottles, OXO kitchen gadgets, and Revlon curling irons is exploring the sale of its personal care business.
Helen of Troy announced Monday morning that it is “in the process of exploring the divestiture of its personal care business,” which includes Pert shampoo, Brut cologne, Sure anti-perspirant and Infusium hair products.
The personal care business is a subset of Helen of Troy’s beauty segment, and the company says its plans do not include the sale of its hair appliance brands, including Revlon and Hot Tools.
“The decision to explore divestiture of personal care advances the company’s strategy to focus its resources on its leadership brands, which are among the highest volume, highest margin and most asset-efficient businesses at Helen of Troy,” said Jack Jancin, a senior vice president, in an email interview.
Asked if Helen of Troy plans any layoffs, Jancin, who heads corporate business development and investor relations, said, “The fact that we are in a quiet period, we are unable to respond to this question at this time.”
Founded as a wig shop in 1968 in Downtown El Paso, the consumer products giant celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Helen of Troy, (NASDAQ: HELE) is now an almost $1.5-billion global enterprise and one of only two publicly traded companies headquartered in El Paso. The other is El Paso Electric.
Since Julien Mininberg became CEO in 2014, Helen of Troy has focused on its faster-growing brands, what it calls its leadership brands. They are OXO, Hydro Flask, PUR, Honeywell, Vicks and Braun.
For other brands, “the question of if it is the right fit for our portfolio is being asked,” Mininberg said in an interview with El Paso Inc. in September.
He said the company’s beauty segment was “a very important part of the company” and represented about 20 percent of its overall sales.
“Beauty has been declining for a long time – roughly a decade,” Mininberg said of sales in that segment. “The reason is the categories we play in are not growth categories.”
Mininberg could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Helen of Troy’s beauty-division sales fell to $356 million for the fiscal year that ended February 2018, down from $435 million in 2015.
According to the news report, Helen of Troy is among the latest consumer-products makers seeking to sell mass beauty and personal-care businesses. Others include Nestlé SA and Bayer AG.
Helen of Troy has about 1,500 employees, including 400 in El Paso. It has operations across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Switzerland, China and Hong Kong.
“We believe our well-established strategy positions Helen of Troy for continued and further long-term sales and profit growth,” Mininberg said in a news release.