MUMBAI BASED ANCHOR GROUP ACQUIRES FORHANS

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MUMBAI-BASED Anchor Group has acquired Forhans, the once-popular toothpaste brand, for an undisclosed sum from John Oak Remedies, an Indian company that bought it from pharmaceutical major Wyeth in 2005.

The deal is understood to have been struck this March and the Forhans brand is likely to be relaunched sometime in August this year.

Anchor made news recently when its promoters, the Shah family, offered a majority stake in its electrical accessories company—the Rs 920-crore Anchor Electricals—to Japanese major Matsushita for Rs 2,000 crore in the face of growing competition. The company is now focusing on building its FMCG business through Anchor Health & Beauty Care (AHBC), which took on heavyweights like HLL and Colgate in the mid-90s by launching a hugely-successful 100% vegetarian toothpaste.

Anchor Electricals managing director and AHBC director Atul Shah declined to comment on the deal. "The group will talk about it at the appropriate time,” he said.

Forhans, the non-foaming fluoride brand, was known as the ‘toothpaste created by a dentist’ in the 1960s but was later put on the block as it was unable to withstand the onslaught of rivals like Close-Up, Colgate and Pepsodent.

Earlier owned by Geoffrey Manners, the brand’s popular advertisement ‘yeh jaagwalaa hai?’ caught the consumer’s fancy in a big way. The brand did well in the 1970s and moved into the Wyeth stable when the two firms merged in July 2002.

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