Sells Margaret Astor and Lancaster cosmetics and skin care businesses to West German firm Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH for $358 mil., about 11 times operating profits. The cosmetics units had combined sales of $426 mil. and operating income of $32 mil. in 1989. The sale is expected to close in about one month. In December, Benckiser bought SB's North American household products business for $106 mil. To date, SB has generated $1.17 bil. from its "planned disposal program," the firm reported. The plan was announced at the time of the merger last year. In April, the company sold its Yardley/Lentheric cosmetics interest for $182 mil., just slightly above earnings for 1989, and also divested 32 small OTC brands for about $52 mil.
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