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German Henkel scoops up French rival Spotless

The home chemicals maker Henkel has agreed to buy the French company Spotless for nearly a billion euros. The acquisition will bolster Henkel's market position across Europe.

Henkel, the German manufacturer of Persil laundry detergent and Dial soap, announced Thursday it was buying French rival Spotless for 940 million euros ($1.28 billion).

"By acquiring the Spotless Group, we will strengthen our market position and enter highly profitable growth segments," chief executive Kasper Rorsted said. "The transaction will be immediately accretive to earnings."

Henkel is a major producer of household chemicals in Europe and Spotless Group is also known for its laundry products.

Spotless' sales in 2013 reached 280 million euros. It has made a name for itself with its stain removers and fabric dyes, as well as insect control and household care products. Some of its brands include Eau Ecarlate, Dylon, Grey and Catch.

Henkel said in a statement it had signed an agreement with funds advised by BC Partners to buy all shares in the Spotless Group. The transaction will be financed in cash.

While the deal is still subject to approval from antitrust authorities, Henkel said it expected things to be wrapped up by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest.

cjc/uhe (AP, AFP)

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