HEALTH

Nestle adding skin care

Nestle SA agreed to pay Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International $1.4 billion for a handful of dermatology products, accelerating a shift by the world’s biggest food maker toward health care.

The purchase of rights to sell products, including Restylane anti-wrinkle treatment in North America, expands the division formed when Nestle took full control of the Galderma joint venture from cosmetics giant L’Oreal SA in February.

Freed from its French partner, the Vevey, Switzerland, company can now push further in the $28 billion dermatology market, which is growing twice as fast as food and delivers fatter profit margins.

Together with its health-science business, which is developing nutrition products for metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, the skin-health unit “represents the future of Nestle,” Jean-Philippe Bertschy, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich, said in a note. “Dermatology has a key role to play in improving the quality of life.”

The Valeant deal, combined with a previous sell-offs, show how Nestle has shifted away from an increasingly commoditized food industry to fulfill an ambition of becoming the world’s leading health, nutrition and wellness company.

Nestle has a Prepared Foods Division based in Solon.

TRADEMARKS

Arches protected

McDonald’s is not loving it in Thailand.

The burger chain’s famous golden arches have become part of the iconography of anti-coup protests and it is warning activists to “cease and refrain” from using its trademark.

One of the McDonald’s stores in Bangkok has become a gathering place for protests following the May 22 military takeover because of its central location. Some protesters have used the McDonald’s logo in their anti-coup signs, replacing the “m” in democracy with the yellow arches.

McThai, which operates McDonald’s restaurants in Thailand, said it is maintaining a “neutral stance” amid political turbulence in the Southeast Asian kingdom famous for its ornate temples, vibrant nightlife and white sand beaches.

The company said it could take “appropriate measures” if protesters continue to appropriate its logo.

Thailand’s army seized power after six months of protests aimed at ousting the elected government.