In response to yesterdays post about Arbonne thriving in Canada, a reader shared with us a link to an article that says differently. As of yesterday it appears that Natural Products Group, the owner of Arbonne, is seeking bankruptcy protection.

Reuters:

Natural Products Group, owner of the Nature’s Gate line of organic shampoos and soap, filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday with the support of its lenders and expects to exit Chapter 11 in two months.

Harvest Partners LP, a New York private equity firm, owns the prebankruptcy equity in Natural Products Group and it will be wiped out.

Harvest formed Natural Products Group in 2004 to buy Arbonne International LLC, a direct marketer of personal care products, and Levlad Inc, which owns the Nature’s Gate line.

Harvest, with other investors, provided $93 million of equity for the acquisitions.

Natural Products Group, based in Irvine, California, said in court documents that it grew rapidly in 2005 and 2006 as Arbonne added a large number of direct marketing contractors, providing an unsustainable boost to revenue.

The company’s net sales began to fall in 2007-2009 due to a loss of direct marketers and downturn in the economy.

While the bankruptcy wipes out the initial investors, Natural Products Group paid them $200 million in dividends in 2005, according to a company statement dated Jan. 4, 2006.

Natural Products Group’s annual revenue consists of $378 million from Arbonne and $73 million from the Levlad businesses.

Natural Products Group employs 867 people worldwide, according to court documents.

Arbonne has a direct sales network of 750,000 independent contractors and the company said they would receive their pay and compensation as usual during the bankruptcy.

Logo from Arbonne

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