April 25, 2019 / 7:38 PM / a month ago

Brazil's Natura in advanced talks with Avon, shares rise

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian cosmetics firm Natura Cosmeticos SA on Thursday said in a statement that it is still in talks to buy Avon Products Inc, the company that controls Avon’s operations outside North America.

In its statement, Natura declined to comment on the deal announced on Thursday in which Cerberus Capital and Avon sold the private North America unit for $125 million to LG Household & Health Care.

One source with knowledge of the matter said talks between Natura and Avon are advanced and if they proceed well an announcement could happen within weeks.

Analysts saw the sale of Avon’s North American unit as positive to Natura. Itau BBA analysts said they expect the deal to focus on Avon’s Latin American operations. The transaction “removes one of the key challenges for Natura on potentially concluding the acquisition”, said analyst Marco Calvi in a note to clients.

Itau BBA analysts estimate that if Natura pays a 20 percent premium over Avon’s current market capitalization of $1.13 billion, Natura’s leverage would increase to five times its earnings before interest, tax, amortization and depreciation, a common gauge of operational profitability known as EBITDA.

But as Natura has a covenant in its bonds demanding its leverage not to exceed 3.5 times, the company would have to issue shares, Calvi said.

Natura shares rose 10 percent on Thursday to 49.28 reais. Avon shares were up 3.4 percent, at $3.06.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer, Paula Laier and Gabriela Mello; editing by Leslie Adler, Lisa Shumaker and Cynthia Osterman

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