SC Johnson gets into personal care by acquiring Deb Group

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

SC Johnson gets into personal care by acquiring Deb Group

Related tags Sc johnson Herbert fisk johnson iii

Previously entrenched in the domestic space with product lines for home cleaning, pest control, and food storage, SC Johnson moves into the industrial personal care supply market.

This week the company signed an agreement to acquire Deb, which brands itself as “the world’s leading away from home skin care system company.”

Soap and skin care
Deb Group caters to consumers in healthcare facilities, laboratories, food service, auto maintenance and more with industrial products designed to protect, cleanse, sanitize and restore, according to

“Deb is an important platform for SC Johnson and helps expand our presence in industrial and institutional markets,”​ said Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, in a media release publicizing the acquisition. “Deb’s market leadership, channel strengths and commitment to innovation complement our own strengths.”

More markets, fewer competitors
Last year Deb acquired Stoko from Evonik, as that company steered its “portfolio toward high-margin specialty chemicals businesses,” ​according to Patrik Wohlhauser, a member of the Evonik Executive Board.

 Stoko on its own was a prominent player in the away-from-home skin care sector. Deb explained in a press release at the time that “the businesses have highly complementary customers, product and geographic coverage.” ​And, that “the addition of Stoko will allow Deb to accelerate a key element of its commercial strategy, to become a global leader in the prevention of occupational skin disease.”

Currently, the Deb Group global headquarters is in the UK, and the company has offices across Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the US. Deb “products are used in more than 100 countries around the world,” ​claims the media release about the SC Johnson acquisition.

Disruptive innovation

In 2009 SC Johnson launched a voluntary ingredient disclosure program. A company announcement that the initiative will be broadened to include product-specific fragrance ingredients came late last year.

Starting in spring of 2015 fragrance recipes for scented SC Johnson products will no longer be secret, Cosmetics Design reported​ when the announcement was made. “This is an exceptional step away from proprietary formulation for a leading US consumer packaged goods company,”​ according to the Cosmetics Design article, since “fragrance formulas, in particular, are closely guarded across industries.” ​And the Deb Group acquisition again raises the question of whether this trend toward disclosing fragrance ingredients will drift and affect the skin care and larger personal care industries.

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