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Biography of Justin LETSCHERT

South Africa > Arts : Justin LETSCHERT

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Biography :

Justin Letschert, CEO of Union-Swiss , one of South Africa’s leading international skincare exporters. Since acquiring the company with his brother and business partner, David, in 2000, Justin has overseen its growth into the stream-lined, global entity it is today. Justin played an instrumental role in driving the international roll-out of Bio-Oil® and retail sales have grown exponentially under his leadership. Presently distributed in 17 countries, the brand is the number one scar and stretch mark product in 14 of these 17 countries. While his professional expertise now includes global branding and marketing strategy, Justin began his career as a numbers man. After qualifying as a chartered accountant, he accepted a position as a mergers and acquisitions advisor in 1992 at Seeff Corporate Finance. In 1994 he realised his entrepreneurial calling and established Letschert Brothers Corporate Finance, a specialist mergers and acquisitions boutique serving the pharmaceutical and personal care product industries. Besides setting the goalposts for dealmaking in the industry, Justin also cemented his professional partnership with his brother, David, who joined the business in 1998. The partnership was proven when they acquired Union-Swiss in 2000 and grew it into a major player in the global skincare industry. When not focused on global expansion, Justin can be found enjoying the great outdoors in Cape Town with his wife and two young sons. Headquartered in Cape Town, Union-Swiss is a multinational skincare company owned by successful entrepreneurial brothers, Justin and David Letschert. Proving that a South African business can achieve international success, Union-Swiss has established Bio-Oil® as a leading skincare product in 17 countries, and has grown retail sales exponentially from R3 million in 2000 to R661 million in 2007. Established in 1954 as the licensee for South Africa’s first imported vitamin-enhanced skincare range, Union-Swiss moved on to become the importer and distributor of various European personal care products. The company shifted focus to product development in 1975 and developed several brands, including Bio-Oil. Seven years later, Union-Swiss merged with Newray Distibutors, a personal care products business and in 2000 it was acquired by the Letschert brothers. The decision to divest of all of Union-Swiss’ tail-end brands and focus entirely on Bio-Oil, has paid off. Since beginning the global roll-out in 2002, Bio-Oil has become the number one selling scar and stretch mark product in 14 of the 17 countries where it is available. Much of Union-Swiss’ success can be attributed to its firmly entrenched culture of expertise and innovation. It maintains this culture by striving to employ South Africa’s most talented graduates and young professionals. Creatively, Union-Swiss has broken the traditional mould of outsourcing advertising to agencies. Instead its global branding and advertising are developed in-house by a highly creative team of experts. Union-Swiss is responsible for the procurement of all of Bio-Oil’s packaging and raw material, whilst global production is outsourced to Columbia Pharmaceuticals, a Medicine Control Council (MCC) approved manufacturing facility and distribution is outsourced to an international network of carefully chosen and managed distributors. Future expansion plans for Bio-Oil include parts of Western Europe, and South and Central America.

Last update : 08/04/2008

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