Brazil's Natura mulls U.S. IPO, spin-off of luxury Aesop brand

SAO PAULO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian cosmetics company Natura & Co (NTCO3.SA) on Monday said it has begun studying a possible initial public offering (IPO) in the United States or spin-off of its Aesop brand, as it looks to fund its expansion.

Natura said that in the event of an IPO or spin-off the luxury cosmetics brand would continue to be led by its current chief executive, Michael O'Keeffe.

The announcement comes less than a month after Natura's management denied rumors it was considering spinning off Aesop or selling the Body Shop, after a string of lackluster quarterly results.

"The IPO has been assessed over the last months as an alternative to fund the accelerated growth of Aesop, and Natura & Co's management has been taking the necessary steps to pursue such alternative."

Natura reported a wider-than-expected quarterly net loss in August, as inflation and tough market conditions put pressure on in its margins.

The company had announced a broad organizational shakeup in June, when chief executive and executive chairman Roberto Marques stepped down, handing over the reins of the company to board member Fabio Barbosa.

It said at the time it planned to increase the accountability of its business units after years of expansion fueled by high-profile acquisitions.

Reporting by Peter Frontini; Editing by Mark Porter and Christopher Cushing

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