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Scented UK crown for Indian

London, Oct. 2: One of the richest Indian families in Britain, the Jatanias, is buying Yardley, the cosmetics firm whose promotional “faces” have included supermodel Linda Evangelista and actor Helena Bonham Carter.

The sum has not been disclosed but is estimated to be around $100 million.

Lornamead, which is owned by the Jatania family, is buying Yardley from US giant Procter & Gamble (P&G).

The Jatanias are ranked as the third-wealthiest Asian family in the UK on the Sunday Times Rich List, with a fortune estimated at '650 million.

Yardley is one of the best-known brand names in cosmetics and was especially popular in the 1950s. Today, it has something of an old-fashioned image that the Jatanias will want to make contemporary but its lavender soap is still very popular among English ladies of a certain age.

At a certain age in India ' before liberalisation, which is less than 15 years ago ' a box, or several boxes, of Yardley soaps would have been a must-take-home for every Indian travelling abroad.

Since 2000, the Jatanias’ company has acquired around 30 brands for approximately $200 million.

Chief executive Mike Jatania said: “We believe there is considerable scope to expand Yardley, exploiting the awareness of the brand world-wide as well as new distribution channels.”

Yardley faces: Linda Evangelista and Helena Bonham Carter

He added: “We are continuing to look at other acquisition opportunities of personal care brands from multinationals where we believe there is significant growth potential as a result of under-investment in these non-core brands.”

The weekly newspaper, Eastern Eye, gave the Jatanias the number one slot on its rich list (after excluding the Mittals and the Hindujas).

The paper said: “The rise of the Jatania family proves the strength of the Asian family business beyond any doubt.”

The Jatania brothers, who came from Uganda, include Mike, Danny, Vin and George (their Indian names have been Anglicised, a practice less common in Britain today).

The group has headquarters in Dubai with affiliated offices and manufacturing in London, Buffalo, Toronto, Lagos, Johannesburg and Hamburg.

The deal brings Yardley, which dates back to 1770 and has three Royal Warrants, together with brands that include Lypsyl lip balm and Harmony hair spray.

Yardley generates sales of $100 million a year and it is thought the Jatania family has paid a similar sum.

In addition to eau de toilette and soap, there are Yardley talcum powder, skin care ranges and male grooming products that are distributed around the world.

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