Wires

Brazil's Boticario eyes cosmetics acquisitions at home and abroad -CEO

SAO PAULO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Brazilian cosmetics company Grupo Boticario is considering domestic and foreign acquisitions as industry competition intensifies, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The company is a major rival to Brazil's Natura & Co , which became the world's fourth-largest beauty group after acquiring Avon Products last year.

"It is our duty to evaluate everything out there in the market," CEO Arthur Grynbaum said at a press conference, citing increased competition since the Avon-Natura merger.

Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico quoted Grynbaum as saying on Thursday that Boticario was eyeing the purchase of U.S.-listed Coty Inc's Brazilian operations to increase market share in hair care. A press representative confirmed his remarks.

Grynbaum told journalists that Chinese rivals have been posing a challenge with cheaper products in multi-brand shops.

"They are very aggressive in terms of price," he said. "But we will not give up quality and safety to our customers."

With over 4,000 stores in Brazil and operations in more 15 countries, Grupo Boticario plans to invest 350 million to 400 million reais ($80 million to $92 million) this year, more than the 330 million reais invested in 2019.

Last year, the company reported a 9% rise in gross revenue from 2018, to 14.9 billion reais. This excludes Beleza na Web, an online platform whose acquisition by Grupo Boticario won antitrust approval in November.

"We've all embraced an economic recovery, but Brazil's growth pace still depends on the approval of key economic reforms and we must also monitor the coronavirus outbreak," Grynbaum added.

He noted Grupo Boticario does not depend heavily on the Chinese market, as it produces all cosmetics and most of its packaging in Brazil.

"Only accessories come from China, but some of our suppliers here get inputs from China, so we're still mapping the situation," Grynbaum added.

($1 = 4.3513 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Richard Chang)