Groupe Marcelle has acquired Lise Watier Cosmétiques, through an $18 million investment by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), becoming the largest Canadian company in the beauty industry.

“Many efforts have been undertaken over the past 40 years to make Lise Watier Cosmétiques a highly respected and valued brand,” said the company’s founder Lise Watier. “I am convinced that the significant complementarity between our two organizations will allow Lise Watier Cosmétiques to continue to evolve while preserving its intrinsic brand DNA.”

Since 2007, the largest shareholder of Montreal-based Lise Watier Cosmétiques has been Toronto=based private equity firm Imperial Capital, with an 85 per cent stake, invested out of its Fund III. At the time, the transaction was reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.

Lise Watier Cosmétiques was founded in 1972 by the glamorous Watier, one of Quebec’s iconic female entrepreneurs. Watier stepped down as chief executive in 2013 to pursue her philanthropic interests.

Groupe Marcelle, with its vast expertise in research and development and its modern manufacturing facilities, will now continue to develop the Lise Watier brand.

“This acquisition is aligned with our strategic growth plan and enables us to diversify our portfolio with the addition of a prestigious and complementary brand,” said David Cape, president of Groupe Marcelle. “Through this transaction, Groupe Marcelle will become the leading Canadian company in the beauty industry. It brings us one step closer to reaching our ambitious objective of becoming one of the 100 largest global cosmetics manufacturers.”

“This $18-million investment by la Caisse will bring together two high-quality Québec companies to create a new industry champion,” said Christian Dubé, executive vice-president, Québec at la Caisse. “Groupe Marcelle has demonstrated, over the years, its ability to innovate constantly and develop new products. This investment is perfectly aligned with our strategy of furthering the growth of innovative and high-performing companies, while generating attractive returns for our clients.”

Groupe Marcelle Inc., formerly known as Professional Pharmaceutical Corp., was founded in 1933 and is based in Lachine, Canada. It has plants, laboratories, and offices in Montréal, Québec. Marcelle manufactures and offers a complete line of cosmetics and skincare products. It offers hypoallergenic makeup products and accessories; cleansing, sun, body, and specific care products; and moisturizers. The company also provides BB creams, foundations, concealers, blushes, powders, and bronzing powders for face; eyeshadows, eyeliners, eyebrow pencils, and mascara for eyes; and lipsticks, gloss, and lip contour crayons for lips. It sells its products online; and through drugstores, superstores, and mass retailers in Canada. Lise Watier offers a complete line of cosmetics, skincare and fragrance products. Annabelle Cosmetics offers a complete line of cosmetics products. CW Beggs and Sons offers men’s skincare products. As a result of this acquisition, close to 360 people work in the research, development, production and marketing of its approximately 1,000 Marcelle, Lise Watier, Annabelle and CW Beggs and Sons products. Groupe Marcelle operates as a subsidiary of M.B.V.H. Investments Inc.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and parapublic pension and insurance plans. As at June 30, 2015, it held $240.8 billion in net assets. As one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, la Caisse invests globally in major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure and real estate.

Imperial Capital is a Toronto-based private equity fund manager that focuses on investment opportunities in healthcare, business services, and consumer products in the Canadian and American mid-market across three industry verticals: healthcare, consumer products, and business services. Imperial Capital’s roots are entrepreneurial, having navigated a similar path as many of the owners and entrepreneurs of the companies in which it has invested for the past 25 years. The firm was co-founded in 1989 by Jeffrey Rosenthal and Stephen Lister. Imperial Capital has over $500 million of assets under management, and raised $295 million in its most recent fund.

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