Could Ahava acquisition take it into China and away from West Bank issue?

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Could Ahava acquisition take it into China and away from West Bank issue?

Related tags European union

With China’s Fosun International in talks to buy Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, some question if it's a sign the company, whose products are based on Dead Sea minerals, is more willing to be acquired due to pressure of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Fosun is reportedly looking for a stake of around 35 per cent in the Israeli cosmetics brand whose main products include skin creams allegedly comprised of mineral-rich mud harvested from occupied areas.

The firm, backed by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang has been acquiring companies across various industries of late - and its interest in Ahava is reported to involve introducing the brand to the Chinese market.

Boycott pressure may be influencing Ahava's willingness to be acquired...

In recent years, Ahava has felt pressure from the global boycott, sanctions and divestment movement due to its West Bank based plant.

The company was accused of trying to distance itself from the issue in 2013, by moving many of its facilities to new locations and away from the jurisdiction of an EU ban on funding operations in Israeli-occupied land.

However, this remains mere speculation as Ahava; despite having 25 per cent fewer employees than it had in 2013, denies it is yielding to the BSD pressure. contacted the brand for further comment on the matter, but had yet to hear back at the time of publication.

Illegal exports

Back in 2012, Christopher Whitman, advocacy co-ordinator at Ma’an Development Centre, told Cosmetics Design that Ahava products were still amongst the biggest illegal exports to Europe.

Considering that the products are mislabeled as being made in Israel, EU R&D money is used for companies like Ahava, which is illegal under international law​. The company also has offices in Europe, which again is illegal considering the organization is a flagrant violator of international law,​” he told this publication at the time.

In 2010, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a decision that settlement products should not receive the same duty-free status as Israeli products. However, some industry experts argue that it is very difficult to differentiate between goods produced in Israel and those made on the illegal settlements.

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