Hutchison Whampoa Acquires One of Europe's Leading Retail Group Kruidvat Deal makes Hutchison's A.S. Watson one of the

World's largest health & beauty retail chains



Combined revenue estimated to reach over EUR7 billion



    HONG KONG, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Hutchison Whampoa Limited (Hutchison)
 today announced that it has, through its wholly owned subsidiary A.S. Watson
 (ASW), made an offer to acquire one of Europe's leading Health & Beauty retail
 businesses, the Kruidvat Group, for approximately EUR1,300 million.  Kruidvat
 has a store portfolio of 1,900 outlets and employs 24,000 people in six
 European nations.  The addition of the Kruidvat Group significantly enhances
 ASW's presence in Europe, its leading market position, its earnings growth,
 and in addition provides synergies with ASW's existing operations.  The
 Kruidvat outlets, in conjunction with ASW's existing 930 personal care stores,
 makes ASW one of the world's largest health and beauty chains.  Combined sales
 of the ASW Group and the Kruidvat Group would exceed EUR 7 billion in 2002.
     The companies being acquired include Health and Beauty retail chains
 Superdrug in the UK, Kruidvat and Trekpleister in the Netherlands, Kruidvat in
 Belgium and Rossmann (50% interest) in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic;
 and Perfumery retail chain ICI Paris XL in the Netherlands and Belgium.
     Commenting on the transaction, Canning Fok, Hutchison's Group Managing
 Director said, "Kruidvat Group was chosen for its exceptional reputation and
 market leader position.  It is an excellent fit for our expanding retail
 business, giving us a more diversified portfolio and better geographical
 balance.  The acquisition also provides us with many opportunities for
 synergies pan Europe and Asia."
     Ian Wade, Group Managing Director of A.S. Watson expressed his enthusiasm
 over the transaction, "A.S. Watson is proud to add the Kruidvat Group to our
 personal care retail family.  Kruidvat Group has a similar business culture
 and store format as ASW and we believe this will provide strong synergies
 between us."
     With the addition of the Kruidvat Group, ASW's European portfolio will be
 dramatically expanded from nine to 12 countries.  The acquisition also
 provides a strong platform for continued expansion into the European health
 and beauty market which has posted consistent growth over the last three
 years.
     Dick van Hedel, Chief Executive Officer of Kruidvat Group called the
 acquisition, "a rarity in today's business world, the acquisition of a company
 by a shareholder with significant strategic value," adding that, "the
 experience and global strength of HWL will help us achieve new heights."
     Hutchison's acquisition of Kruidvat is the latest move in the Group's
 strategic expansion into Europe's retail market, following its acquisition of
 UK-based chain Savers in 2000.  Hutchison also has substantial investments and
 operations in a wide range of businesses in Europe, including ports, third
 generation (3G) multimedia mobile services, property development and water
 businesses.
     Conditions for closing the transaction include approval from EU regulatory
 authorities.
 
     About Hutchison Whampoa
     Hutchison Whampoa is a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate with
 origins dating back to the 1800s.  Hutchison is also part of the Li Ka-shing
 group of companies, which together represent about 15% of the total market
 capitalization of the Hong Kong stock market.  In 2001, HWL's consolidated
 turnover (including associates) was HK$89,038 million and net profit was
 HK$12,088 million.  With over 120,000 employees worldwide, Hutchison operates
 and invests in five core businesses in 37 countries: ports and related
 services; telecommunications; property and hotels; retail and manufacturing;
 and energy and infrastructure.
     For more information, please visit http://www.hutchison-whampoa.com
 
     About A.S. Watson (ASW)
     With history dating back to 1828, A.S. Watson (ASW) has evolved into an
 international retail and manufacturing business with operations in 17
 countries in Asia and Europe.  The Group currently operates over 1,300 retail
 stores, owns more than 20 water and juice brands and employs more than 27,000
 staff worldwide.  ASW houses Asia's largest health and beauty chain Watsons
 Your Personal Store with 650 outlets in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan,
 Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.  In Europe, ASW
 operates Savers health and beauty chain, the fastest growing UK retailer in
 its sector, with 280 outlets in the UK.
 
     About Kruidvat Group
     Kruidvat Holding is one of the largest drugstore chains in Europe with a
 store portfolio of 1,900 outlets and employs 24,000 people in six European
 nations.  The company operates Health and Beauty retail chains Superdrug in
 the UK, Kruidvat and Trekpleister in the Netherlands, Kruidvat in Belgium and
 Rossmann (50% interest) in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic; and
 Perfumery retail chain ICI Paris XL in the Netherlands and Belgium.
 
 

SOURCE A.S. Watson

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